PARIS — Neymar should be given greater protection by Ligue 1 referees, Paris Saint-Germain coach Unai Emery has said.
The Brazil star scored one and made the other as PSG beat Troyes 2-0 at home on Wednesday but was subjected to some rough challenges.
And speaking at a prematch news conference ahead of the trip to Strasbourg this weekend, Emery said: “It is important to protect the players, not only Neymar.
“He touches the ball often, he looks for a lot of one-on-ones, he dribbles plenty, we need the players to be protected.
“Football is a spectacle, and Neymar is a player who suffers numerous fouls. The referee needs to protect the players.”
Neymar will be suspended for next week’s Ligue 1 clash with Lille at Parc des Princes after his booking in the 2-0 win at Monaco was upheld.
And Emery warned his players they could not afford to be complacent despite being 10 points clear at the top of the table.
“We are taking it match by match,” he said. “We have several individual and collective goals to target in each game.
“We respect every team. This season, we are making more of a difference. We are showing that we are stronger.”
Thomas Meunier started at right-back against Troyes ahead of Dani Alves, who is expected to return at Strasbourg ahead of next week’s Champions League clash with Bayern Munich.
Emery said: “The competition is greater with Dani but we are very happy with Thomas.
“He played more than he expected to last season and he will continue to progress.”
Thiago Motta is the only definite absentee against Strasbourg, while the rest depends on training.
“We will wait until the final training session,” Emery said. “We will see how the players from Wednesday are feeling and see who is ready for the important match in Strasbourg.”
Jonathan Johnson covers PSG and the French national team for ESPN FC. Twitter: @Jon_LeGossip.