As its last matches in Rennes and Montpellier, in the league and in the Coupe de France have shown, PSG have often been joined this season after leading in the score. A big concern that Mauricio Pochettino has not yet resolved.
What is the common point between the draw of PSG last Sunday in Rennes (1-1) in Ligue 1 and its victory at the end of the suspense Wednesday in Montpellier (2-2, 6-5 tab) in the semi-final of the Coupe de France ? Each time, the Parisians have led. And each time, they were taken back. In Brittany, it was Neymar who opened the scoring from the penalty spot, before seeing Serhou Guirassy logically equalize in the second half. At La Mosson, Kylian Mbappé put his team in the lead twice for his return from injury. But Gaëtan Laborde and Andy Delort answered him in turn, to push the match until a penalty shootout ended by the failure of Junior Sambia. Qualified for its 19th Coupe de France final, PSG was hot and this is not the first time this season that it has been joined after finding the loophole.
Overthrown by Lorient, by Nantes …
In Ligue 1, this scenario has occurred three times out of his eight defeats. Clear proof of a certain fragility. And this bad habit could cost the title to the teammates of Marquinhos, three lengths from Losc two days from the end. The most significant setback is undoubtedly the one suffered on November 20 in Monaco (3-2). That day, Paris seemed to be heading for quiet success thanks to a double from Mbappé, already him. But his second period at an abysmal level had allowed the Monegasques to snatch victory, led by a great Kevin Volland. Another symbol of the Parisian faults: the reverse in Lorient (3-2) on January 31, the first of the Mauricio Pochettino era. Surprised early in the match on a goal from Laurent Abergel, the visitors had taken the lead on two penalties converted by Neymar.
Before scuttling. Well helped by Parisian attackers unable to kill any suspense and defenders in great suffering, the Merlus had sanctioned the failed management of the champion of France. This is also what the Nantes people were able to do a month and a half later by taking three points at the Parc des Princes (2-1), on March 14, despite the opening scoring of Julian Draxler. A hell of a poor performance for a small Paris, as predictable as it is amorphous, incapable of making a break or even keeping the score. The supporters could not forget this other disappointing result against Bordeaux (2-2) on November 28. In front of the break, their team had dropped two more points, sanctioned for its technical waste and its lack of aggressiveness.
When we chain so many disillusions, the theory of mishap can no longer hold. And then let slip an advantage, the capital club also knows how to do it on the European scene, as shown by these defeats against Leipzig (2-1) in the group stage, on November 4, and against Manchester City (2- 1) in the semi-final first leg of the Champions League on April 28.
A mental problem?
In Germany, the game had started well for PSG with a goal signed by Angel Di Maria in the sixth minute. The Argentinian then missed a penalty, the midfielder found himself suffocated by the opposing pressing and some elements ended up losing their nerves, Idrissa Gueye and Presnel Kimpembe having been sent to the locker room in the second half. It’s hard not to see the similarities between this match and the one against the Skyblues on April 28. Again, a goal in the first quarter of an hour (Marquinhos). There again, a second period poorly controlled. And there again, the red card distributed (Gueye) and a setback at the finish. In the Champions League, Paris was also hooked by Barcelona (1-1), in the round of 16 return, while Mbappé thought he had done the hard part by scoring the first from the penalty spot on March 10.
Whether it is against European cadors or poorly classified Ligue 1 clubs, PSG has repeatedly reminded us this season that mastering a match was not really its strong point. Blame it on a lack of solidarity? An inability to handle the pressure? A physical problem? Of management? Arsene Wenger had put forward an interesting line of thought after the 2-1 suffered against City. “What was interesting tonight was to see that at 1-1, PSG collapsed on a mental level. It is linked to the fact that this team has lost eight games in Ligue 1 this season. That has consequences in those kinds of situations. At 1-1 the team remembers losing a lot of games this year, it’s not like they feel unbeatable. Her confidence has dropped dramatically. when Manchester City equalized, the psychological impact was too great for Paris, “the former Arsenal manager told beIN Sports.
An argument swept aside by Pochettino: “What I can say is that from my point of view, the team was strong physically and mentally despite the blows received, the two goals and the expulsion. We held on to ten for 15 minutes against a team like City, which will win the Premier League and which is a team that has been building for six years with a philosophy, a very clear structure. A team without mental quality could not eliminate Bayern Munich or Barcelona and You couldn’t play at that level. Either you have the mind or you don’t. You can’t have it one game and lose it the next. ” In this case, it is up to him to regain control so that his team can once again fold their matches instead of giving hope to their opponents.