For the second time this season in Ligue 1, Mauricio Pochettino has aligned his fantastic four (Messi, Mbappé, Neymar, Di Maria). And if Paris had opportunities, the overall performance of the Ile-de-France residents reinforces the idea that this tactical choice remains very perilous.
Five days after the precious victory against Manchester City in the Champions League (2-0), Mauricio Pochettino has decided to return all his stars to Roazhon Park. The only difference, and not the least, Angel Di Maria returned to the starting XI, instead of Ander Herrera.
Suspended for the first three group matches of the big-eared cup, the Argentinian came to give even more tinsel to the offensive sector. But again, depopulating the midfield to field an XXL attack did not pay off. From the outset, the Rennais made a huge pressing with, in particular Martin Terrier and Gaëtan Laborde who were in charge of marking Marco Verratti in the breeches.
Result: with one less midfielder and their isolated launch pad, the front four were weaned from balloons during the first twenty minutes. Certainly, Paris had scoring opportunities by Messi (7th, 31st, 32nd), Neymar (23rd), Mbappé (25th) and Di Maria (44th), but Paris cannot afford to justify itself with ifs. In addition, if the scenario of the meeting was cruel (a goal scored just before the break and another after the return from the locker room), this did not prevent observers from seeing a team too unbalanced in the face of intense pressure from Rennes. .
Pochettino remains satisfied despite everything
Moreover, the red-and-black midfielder Flavien Tait admitted at a press conference that the SRFC had clearly identified the Parisian defensive concerns once the Fantastic 4 had been erased. “You can always say that, but when they get the ball back they can hurt. But yes, we knew that if we passed these three, four in front, we could install our game in the opposing camp ”. On the second ball, the defensive retreat of the Ile-de-France offensives was therefore far from exemplary. And the more the match progressed, the more this withdrawal became nonexistent. On the counter-attacks, the Verratti-Gueye duo found themselves too exposed.
For the second time this season (after the shock against OL), Pochettino’s choice to align his four offensive stars was therefore attractive on paper, but less on the ground. However, the Argentine coach refused to incriminate his system. “You should not analyze the result on a system. When we won against Lyon or Manchester City, we used different players, different systems. The analysis is that we did the best 25 minutes of the season. We only missed the goal. We must stop there. If the result allowed to try to find what has not been done, we would go on a wrong path. We have to believe, be positive, the team can play with different systems and different players, more or less offensive. Beyond the result, I’m happy, even if nobody likes to lose ”. If Pochettino is happy …