Neymar's injury absence has put him out of the rhythm, Paris Saint-Germain head coach Thomas Tuchel said.
While backing Kylian Mbappe after Paris Saint-Germain's loss to Borussia Dortmund, Paris Saint-Germain head coach Thomas Tuchel said Neymar's lack of competitive matches finally showed in his unrhythmic play.
Erling Haaland's brace led Dortmund to a 2-1 home victory in the first leg of the Champions League last-16 tie on Tuesday.
Neymar was on the scoresheet on his return from a rib injury, while Mbappe also missed PSG's draw with Amiens on Saturday.
In Tuchel's opinion, it's PSG's busy schedule and injuries that has weighed on the performance of the team at Signal Iduna Park.
"We have made twice as many matches as Dortmund in recent weeks. We have had injury concerns with key players, they lack the rhythm, the hardness of the competition, as we saw with Neymar," he said, via L'Equipe.
"Our possession of the ball was not stable enough for this not to be a physical match. There was this physical side to this match, in addition, we made too many mistakes in unnecessary positions.
"We were lacking in timing. We lost a little confidence, and form. I thought it would be a more open game."
Neymar said after the match that he had been unhappy with how PSG managed his injury, insisting he was ready to return earlier.
Backing Mbappe and learning from his loss to Dortmund, Tuchel felt his team played with fear.
"I knew it would be a tough game for him. He had to be very, very patient," he said.
"We know that the technical relationship between him and Ney is good. Ney lacked rhythm, competition.
"Kylian made an assist. It's a tough game for him, a game to grow. I trust him. We're going to have a good game at the Parc [des Princes]."
PSG host the second leg on March 11.