Eliminated by Manchester City in the semi-final of the Champions League, Paris Saint-Germain will not participate in a second consecutive C1 final. Beyond the disappointment, the European course of PSG this season is rich in lessons and suggests interesting prospects for next season.
Regrets were necessarily put aside Paris Saint-Germain on Tuesday night, around 11 p.m., when Manchester City had just eliminated the capital club in the semi-finals of the Champions League (2-0). Powerless against strong Citizens, Mauricio Pochettino’s players certainly had to rehash a few missed opportunities, such as those of Marquinhos and Angel Di Maria in the first period.
>> Manchester City-PSG: live information
However, after the meeting, the Parisians did not pour out more than that on the disappointment but looked more to the future. “We are doing two years in the last four, it’s a good course. I’m sorry, but we will try again until death”, assured Marco Verratti at the microphone of RMC Sport. After the defeat in the final against Bayern Munich last August (0-1) in Final 8, the European course of this season seems to have acted as a trigger in the minds of Parisian players.
Last season, the format and the opponents encountered (Atalanta in the quarterfinals, Leipzig in the semi-finals) had provoked debates on the presence of PSG and a possible victory in the final of the competition. This season, the Paris route does not suffer from any possible dispute. By successively eliminating FC Barcelona in the round of 16, then Bayern Munich in the quarterfinals, PSG did not usurp its place in the last four.
PSG now know how to eliminate the “big ones”
The club’s qualification for the round of 16, notably by winning the pitch at Manchester United in December (3-1) when Paris seemed poorly engaged in its group, had fueled the idea that this PSG was capable the best and the worst. Since early 2021, PSG has constantly alternated the two in C1. Impressive in Barcelona (4-1), Paris was scared in the return match (1-1). In success in Munich (3-2), PSG should have won at the Parc des Princes a week later (0-1).
Where the trauma suffered against Barça in 2017 and Manchester United in 2019 had caused psychosis among players and supporters of PSG, the European course of Paris this season could on the contrary trigger a wave of optimism. PSG are now able to win in Munich, Barcelona and eliminate big clubs. And no matter that Manchester City had won on the first leg last Wednesday (1-2), hope remained among Parisian supporters on Tuesday evening, where the abatement would have taken precedence two years ago, sign that times have changed in Paris.
Generate collective strength to get the C1
PSG therefore fell in the semi-finals against stronger than oneself, and this outcome is not illogical. But his trajectory for more than a year now makes him a more than credible candidate for the final victory. “Our career has put us as a real candidate to win the Champions League. We came out of very difficult situations during the competition, I am optimistic for the future,” said Leonardo yesterday on RMC Sport.
To win the first C1 in its history, Paris will however have to find stability and be based on a more solid collective. Because Mauricio Pochettino arrived during the season, and PSG looked pale in the face of a run-of-the-mill Manchester City, master of its subject and animated by a game plan superior to individualities.
Neymar, Marquinhos, Keylor Navas and especially Kylian Mbappé will have shone during this season of C1. But at this level, these individual performances are not enough and the PSG must release a collective force throughout the competition to get a first victory in C1. To continue to “dream bigger”, Paris will certainly have to make some adjustments this summer.