The German coach used an unusual metaphor to describe his side’s situation in the competition
A Neymar brace and Marquinhos’ goal placed United’s last-16 progression on hold, while putting last season’s runners-up PSG in control of their own destiny heading into the sixth and final matchday in Group H.
Neymar opened the scoring inside six minutes at Old Trafford on Wednesday before United star Marcus Rashford scored in his third successive Champions League appearance against PSG.
After Anthony Martial wasted a gilt-edged opportunity and former PSG forward Edinson Cavani rattled the crossbar, it all went pear-shaped for United – who watched Marquinhos bundle the ball over the line with 21 minutes remaining and saw Fred receive a second yellow card moments later.
Neymar added gloss to the scoreline in the first minute of stoppage time as PSG joined United and RB Leipzig on nine points with one fixture remaining – Tuchel’s side only require a draw against Istanbul Basaksehir to secure a place in the knockout stages.
But Tuchel urged calm post-match, telling RMC Sport: “Nearly qualified, is not qualified. Nearly pregnant, is not being pregnant. That does not exist, I am not going to let a single guy think that everything has been done.
“We have made a big step forward but I am not going to let a single guy think that we are already qualified.
“We need to make the last step and for that, we will need to play with the same mentality, the same fire and the same spirit.”
PSG have won both of their last two away matches against English opposition in all competitions (both versus United) – they had only won one of their first 10 such visits prior (drawn four and lost five).
Since his Champions League debut in 2013, only Cristiano Ronaldo (79), Robert Lewandowski (60) and Lionel Messi (59) have more goals in the competition than Neymar (38).
Neymar’s double in Manchester was the Brazilian’s first goals in his six Champions League games away to English sides.
“We can be proud tonight,” PSG president Nasser Al-Khelaifi told RMC Sport. “We showed the real PSG, a real team who is fighting for the Champions League. It was important for us, this was a decisive match.
“We needed to show that we are always present in the big moments. I am proud of my players. It was difficult, it was a match that everyone wanted to win, I think that we created goals.