Meunier claims PSG fans 'a little ungrateful' after whistling Neymar
PARIS -- Paris Saint-Germain right back Thomas Meunier has branded the club's supporters "a little ungrateful" after they whistled Neymar for not giving Edinson Cavani the ball to take a late penalty in the 8-0 Ligue 1 win over Dijon at Parc des Princes on Wednesday.
Neymar converted from the spot to complete the scoring on the night, but PSG fans had hoped to see Cavani collect his second goal, which would have been his 157th for the capital club and a new all-time record tally after levelling Zlatan Ibrahimovic's 156-goal haul in the first half.
"It was a little ungrateful from the supporters," Meunier told journalists in the mixed zone after the final whistle. "We sense the excitement each time Neymar touches the ball but I know that they also appreciate Edinson.
"However, you have to weigh up the pros and cons and put water in the wine, so when a player scores four goals and provides two more assists in a match. ... The team in general should be cheered and not just individual players."
Meunier, who started over Neymar's compatriot Dani Alves, insisted that the whistling will not be dwelled upon for long and praised Les Parisiens' iconic No. 10.
He also pointed out that Neymar is now coach Unai Emery's designated penalty taker, so it was up to him to take the spot kick.
"It is a minor detail compared with the performance and the score," Meunier said of the whistling. "It was a bit of a shame because Neymar has done a good amount of work today and in the past few weeks -- all for the good of the team.
"Neymar wins us points each time he is on the pitch, he is very clinical and I do not think we point the finger at him because, on paper, he takes the penalties, so it was his responsibility.
"Giving the penalty to Edinson would have been fair play from Neymar but he took the ball and the spot kick. Edinson said nothing because he knows that at the end of the day, it is Neymar who should have taken the penalty."
Meunier went on and tripped over himself praising Neymar, noting a number of recent changes to his style in Ligue 1.
"What to say, he is at the top of his game," he said. "He is very involved, he is working well defensively and I get the impression that he is trying to toughen up.
"Le Championnat is quite physical and he is not afraid of challenges, he is also trying to play collectively and he possesses qualities that nobody else on this planet has.
"Neymar can make the difference by himself. We saw that when he picked up the ball in midfield, dribbled past five or six players and then scored. It was a bit sickening for our opponents but that is what he is all about."
Speaking with Canal+ after the match, captain Thiago Silva played down the fans' whistling Neymar and rejected the idea that his teammate was unhappy with the treatment.
"I do not think so," said the skipper. "Neymar let Edinson have the chance the score against Lyon and today, although it was true that Edinson was going for the record and the supporters were against Neymar [taking the penalty], I believe that the most important thing was the final score.
"It was a win. The records will come -- Edinson scores all the time! We still have plenty of matches left and he will beat all of Zlatan's records this season."
Emery also spoke with Canal+ and also tempered any talk of Neymar being unhappy after the late penalty.
"No, he is happy," he said when asked about the Brazil international and the whistling. "The most important things was the team aspect though.
"All of the roles in the side are clear. For example, Edinson is our goal-getter. Each player has a role in the team. For me, Neymar is the leader but together, we can do many good things.
"I understand the whistling and individual statistics do matter but the most important thing is the team."
Next up for Neymar, Cavani and PSG are second-placed Lyon away on Sunday, with the gap at the Ligue 1 summit still at 11 points after both sides won on Wednesday.
Jonathan Johnson covers PSG and the French national team for ESPN FC. Twitter: @Jon_LeGossip.