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Neymar has become the leader Paris Saint-Germain hoped he would be this season, according to Thomas Tuchel, who stressed the forward must now keep up his sensational form.

After recovering from a groin injury earlier in the campaign, Neymar has been in imperious form in recent weeks and is on 11 goals and five assists from 12 Ligue 1 appearances.

The 27-year-old – who wanted to rejoin Barcelona in the close season but ultimately stayed in Paris – has suffered serious injuries in both of his previous seasons at PSG, and Tuchel now wants to see Neymar to maintain the level of performance he is displaying at the moment.

“For Neymar, there are a lot of words to describe him,” Tuchel told a news conference when asked about Neymar, who would set a new club record should he score against Lorient in the Coupe de France on Sunday.

“But the best thing is to watch the games. He is really decisive for us, he closes spaces, he defends.

“He is the leader we hoped for and it is a really good time for him. The challenge is to keep going, to employ the same effort, the way of working and the mindset. It is good but it is just the beginning. It is only January.”

While singling out Neymar for particular praise, Tuchel also reiterated the importance of the rest of PSG’s team following the Brazil international’s example.

“I am convinced that football is based on team effort,” Tuchel said.

“We attack together and we defend together and if we do that, we are a dangerous team. If not, we are an average team and you cannot win any big thing as an average team.”

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