So this is Mauricio Pochettino’s PSG: a team still unable to control their subject for 90 minutes, sometimes completely forgetting themselves but terribly effective when the smell of the Champions League arises. Faced with RB Leipzig this Tuesday evening (3-2), the Parisian training offered us a panel fairly representative of its qualities and its faults, generally the same insights since the arrival of the Argentine coach on the bench, ten years ago. months and a half.
The positive is that the Parc des Princes still vibrated, three weeks after the brilliant success against Manchester City (2-0). Five goals, a comeback and a brace from Lionel Messi, you can’t refuse. Discreet in the game, the six-fold Golden Ball, on his way to a seventh, scored his first double with PSG and the first since May 1, 2019. His complicity with Kylian Mbappé works wonderfully in sequences. The French world champion offered him almost the first and obtained the penalty, transformed from a gentle Panenka to the delight of the 47,000 fans.
With them both, PSG can see far. Because it is easy to think that the club of the capital will very often come out of quagmires like that of the evening thanks to their talent. But there are still many gaps. So far, Pochettino’s best European matches have been concocted with the same recipes: a ball left to the opponent, solidarity, quick exits and offensive transitions concluded by Mbappé. This was the case in Barcelona, Munich and more recently against City at the Parc des Princes. But the difficulties escalate when you have to manage the tempo of a match differently. Against the Germans, possession was largely in favor of the Parisians. But they didn’t know how to handle it, scoring three goals on quick transitions.
The first half was even a fascinating shot of this lack of creativity in the opposing camp: 72% possession, only one shot on target. The continuity of the results obtained in Rennes (0-2) or against Angers (2-1) with the same statistics. That’s the main focus of Pochettino’s work this season if he wants to be able to achieve consistency. The absence of Neymar, physical this Tuesday night due to painful adductors or mental since the start of the season, does not help either. If PSG reached the European grand final in 2020, it was with a Brazilian number 10 as master of the elements.
As for the other big flaw of the Parisian season, the defensive aspect, he once again fished against the bulls of RB Leipzig. Overhauled by 75% compared to Angers’s reception on Friday, PSG’s defense has completely crumbled on the German counterattacks. And for the tenth time in fourteen official appearances this season, she has conceded at least one goal.
Lucky for her that Keylor Navas and Gianluigi Donnarumma provide. Holder this Tuesday, the Costa Rican has again saved his team on several occasions. Good news for Pochettino and his staff. With a good goalkeeper and good attackers, in general, a good part of the way is done. It remains to better articulate the collective.