Champions League: PSG has three months to review its copy

For the 10th consecutive season, Paris Saint-Germain will be in the knockout stages of the Champions League next February. Despite its defeat in Manchester, against City, on Wednesday, November 24 (1-2), the capital club learned of its qualification for the knockout phase thanks to the defeat of Bruges against Leipzig (0-5). There will be a final match, against the Brugeois in two weeks, but it will be anecdotal for Mauricio Pochettino’s players, guaranteed to finish second.

>>> To read also: Manchester City-PSG: Hakimi and Mendes overwhelmed, Neymar frustrated and frustrating … The notes of the Parisians

It is a group first that will stand on the road and this is obviously not good news, even more this season when the leaders have tended to fly over the competition. Liverpool, Ajax Amsterdam and Bayern Munich have taken this wagon with the common point between these three teams this feeling of control. This is not the case with PSG.

The draw in Bruges (1-1) was almost a relief as the capital club had suffered there. The two victories at the Parc des Princes against Manchester City (2-0) and against Leipzig (3-2) were obtained against the course of the game. Above all, the excess of realism ended up fading during these last two exits with the draw conceded at the last minute in Leipzig (2-2) and the logical defeat in Manchester (1-2). Attention to the return to earth for a team which also drags its shortcomings on the lawns of Ligue 1, even when adversity is less severe.

Obviously, all eyes are on the Lionel Messi-Kylian Mbappé-Neymar trio since the arrival of the seven-fold Golden Ball in August. A new era was to begin, with an even stronger PSG, a year after having touched the cup with the big ears. But by dreaming too much, it is easier to open the door to disappointment. After three months of cohabitation, the fabulous trio have not found the chemistry. Paris still does not know how to run the MNM at full speed.

Disconnected from the rest of the team in the defensive phase, it was also disconnected on the relaunch on Wednesday. Too far from the midfield, the Parisian attackers did not offer solutions for 45 minutes while the Macunian waves suffocated the defense. This association, which was to allow the capital club to be the best training in the world, is currently a burden. PSG scores more easily when the three are not on the lawn: every 89 minutes when they are together, against every 36 minutes when one of them is not there.

But all this is only a sequoïa which hides the forest of gaps of the Paris Saint-Germain of Mauricio Pochettino. Since the arrival of the Argentine coach last January, no playing identity has emerged. This team lacks a recipe and a great club routine, which ended up losing a precious asset: the habit of crushing the national scene. The title escaped him for the first time since 2017 the previous season and snatch victories have become the norm (against Lyon, Metz, Angers, Lille, Nantes …).

In addition to failing to address the issues that have been hanging around for several seasons, Pochettino has seen others arise. The PSG midfielder is still lost without Marco Verratti, whose frequent injuries punctuate the already chaotic seasons of his team. The combinations are multiplying but stability is no longer there since the retirement of Thiago Motta in the summer of 2018. Paris simply no longer knows how to hold the ball and plays like an outsider, adapting to the opponent and seeking to deceive him against.

As for the defense, it also has its share of problems even if Marquinhos is still just as reliable. Despite the irregularity of Presnel Kimpembe, the ever-awaited debut of Sergio Ramos and the inability of Abdou Diallo and Thilo Kehrer to compete with the incumbents, the central hinge is not the biggest question mark in the sector. We must rather look on the sides where the very offensive Achraf Hakimi and Nuno Mendes have enormous difficulties in their interventions, to the point of no longer existing in projection. After a flamboyant start, Hakimi, for example, has just chained 14 meetings without succeeding in any cross.

And where the solutions are, Paris also finds a way to find itself in discomfort, like the n ° 1 goalkeeper position still shared between Keylor Navas and Gianluigi Donnarumma.

The context is not necessarily ideal because the spiral of injuries never stops (Paris has never managed to field two identical eleven), but Mauricio Pochettino still has three months to make the right adjustments and satisfy the ambitions of Champions League of his club. The time perhaps to recover a whole group, even one or two recruits during the winter window. Unless the Manchester United sirens are too tempting and the Argentinian technician ends up setting sail.

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