Beaten by the Citizens on Wednesday night, PSG displayed a worrying face. Because once again, Neymar and his partners have suffered greatly, as is often the case lately in the Champions League.
Since the start of the season, expectations have been high around Paris Saint-Germain. With an XXL recruitment and the arrival of Lionel Messi in particular, the club of the capital is scrutinized very closely at each exit, and this was still the case on Wednesday evening at the Etihad Stadium, against Manchester City. Unfortunately, the Parisians once again delivered a surprising and disturbing performance, especially at the collective level, and therefore left England with a defeat in their suitcases (1-2, 5th day of the group stage), but also the qualification for the final phase.
The essential, namely a ticket for the round of 16, has therefore been assured even if the vice-champions of France will finish second in group A. But in the game, we are still waiting for something new. Already manhandled on the first leg by the Citizens despite the victory, but also jostled twice by RB Leipzig, Mauricio Pochettino’s men were still disappointing. Faced with a Mancunian block well in place and a Pep Guardiola who knows how to make himself understood by his men, the Parisians suffered in the first period, creating almost no opportunity except the breakthrough of Nuno Mendes or the shooting not worrying of Kylian Mbappé before the break.
We thought we were witnessing the same physiognomy in the second half, but Kylian Mbappé’s opening scoring changed a lot of things. Finally could have. Because despite this goal conceded, the Citizens still pushed to equalize before snatching the victory. And the Parisians have helped them a lot. Defensively, the Nuno Mendes-Achraf Hakimi duo experienced many difficulties, especially the first. In his corridor, the Portuguese side suffered martyrdom against Riyad Mahrez, too often served, or Kyle Walker, who is at the origin of the first Mancunian goal. The Moroccan, on the other hand, left far too much space for Raheem Sterling or Joao Cancelo, who multiplied the crossings towards the Algerian. But these weren’t the only Parisian problems on Wednesday night.
Pochettino satisfied despite everything
In the midfield, pressing and envy, only Leandro Paredes stood out slightly. Holder in the absence of Marco Verrati, or Georginio Wijnaldum (injured and on the bench), the Argentinian tried to show the way to his teammates, by his aggressiveness, in vain. And what about the attacking trio on the lawn of the Etihad Stadium? If he scored, Kylian Mbappé did not really exist during the game, just like Lionel Messi who was almost transparent. Much more present by winning, Neymar had more the ball, but the Brazilian did not necessarily use it well. And with such a spectacular offensive trident on paper, everyone is expecting a lot better.
Mauricio Pochettino’s reactions were therefore expected after the final whistle and to everyone’s surprise, the Argentine instead expressed his satisfaction with the performance of his men: “Yes, I am satisfied with all the players. It’s just a shame we lost. We had a chance to be first now it is no longer possible, but we are qualified. Given the circumstances at the start of the season, it’s good to be qualified and we’ll see what happens next. ” The rest is a trip to the Chaudron to face AS Saint-Étienne before the reception of OGC Nice in the middle of next week, and another trip to Lens. Hoping that PSG, in the game, will offer better things.