Paris Saint-Germain coach Unai Emery said he expects Neymar to return from injury for Tuesday’s Champions League match against Bayern Munich, after his side struggled to a 0-0 draw at Montpellier in the Brazilian’s absence.
Neymar missed the game after suffering a right foot injury, and PSG duly saw its perfect start to the Ligue 1 season come to an end in its first match without the 25- year-old since his world record move from Barcelona.
“There are three days left to prepare for the match, but I think that if everything goes normally he (Neymar) will be back.”
The capital-city side has seen its early lead at the top of the table cut to one point this weekend after reigning champion Monaco thumped Lille on Friday.
Emery wants his men to be able to break down stubborn opposition without its key playmaker. “We need all the players, when a player is missing it’s important to maintain the level and pace,” the Spaniard added, after his side mustered just one shot on target.
“Others have had time to play and they’ve helped the team, but we can’t say that the match would have been different with Neymar.
“We will play more matches with Neymar this season, but we also need to work (when we’re) without a player.”
Rising star Kylian Mbappe had the best of the visitor’s chances at the Stade de la Mosson, but the 18-year-old was profligate in front of goal.
Without Neymar pulling the strings, Paris was toothless for the first 45 minutes, with some players perhaps keeping one eye on the Bayern game.
PSG did finally create a decent chance shortly after the restart, as Montpellier threw away possession on the edge of its own area and Mbappe curled a tame shot straight at home
goalkeeper Benjamin Lecomte.
The teenager, who will become the world’s second-most expensive player behind Neymar when he completes his permanent transfer from Monaco next year, should have broken the deadlock, but headed wide when unmarked from only a few yards out.
Mbappe was starting to make an impact, as he raced through on goal only to scuff his shot and allow the home defence to clear.
Striker Edinson Cavani, who missed a penalty last week after an argument with Neymar, had an appeal for a spot-kick waved away after going down in a heap under a potentially goal-saving tackle from defender Pedro Mendes.
But last season’s runner-up was left frustrated by Montpellier’s organisation and 5-4-1 formation.
Bordeaux preserved its unbeaten record as substitutes Alexandre Mendy and Jonathan Cafu scored in a 3-1 home win over Guingamp.
Jimmy Briand had missed a penalty for the visitor before Francois Kamano put Jocelyn Gourvennec’s side ahead and Yannis Salibur equalised.
But Gourvennec’s changes worked perfectly as Bordeaux moved into third.
Mariano Diaz scored his fifth Ligue 1 goal for Lyon since joining from Real Madrid, but Cedric Yambere grabbed away team Dijon a thrilling 3-3 draw.
Lyon’s Nabil Fekir had also netted for the fifth time this season, before Dijon turned the game around with goals from Naim Sliti and Xeka.
Teenager Houssem Aouar levelled before Diaz’s penalty, but Yambere pinched a point.
Caen beat Amiens 1-0 to go sixth, while 10-man Troyes edged out bottom club Metz 1-0 thanks to a last-minute strike by Samuel Grandsir.
Monaco had put the pressure on PSG at the summit as Radamel Falcao took his goal tally for the season to 11 with a brace in a 4-0 thrashing of Lille.
The champion was barely made to sweat by its pitiful host, whose coach Marcelo Bielsa is now.