Guilty of a cruel lack of state of mind and commitment Wednesday against Manchester City (1-2), in the semi-final first leg of the Champions League, the two Parisian stars have, with them, fired PSG towards the bottom in the second half. Of the two, only Neymar partially survived, in the first act.
You miss two beings, and everything is depopulated. Engines of their team against Bayern Munich, in the quarter-finals of the Champions League, Neymar and Kylian Mbappé visibly ran out of gasoline on Wednesday evening when they welcomed the ogre Cityzen. Facing Manchester City, the Brazilian was level in the first act before staying on the side of the road in the second, the Frenchman never really got on the train for this semi-final first leg.
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“Why PSG eliminated Bayern Munich? Remember the efforts of Neymar and Mbappé on the sides. We did not see that today,” summed up our consultant Jérôme Rothen in Champions Zone. Believing that the two attackers had a great deal of responsibility in the 2-1 setback of PSG.
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Frustrating and frustrated Mbappé
Difficult to prove him wrong in view of the services offered by the two Parisian stars. Kylian Mbappé was cruelly transparent during this European duel against City. A team against which he had revealed himself in the eyes of the football world, four years ago with AS Monaco, scoring a goal in the first leg and in the return of the knockout stages of the competition. Never really in the rhythm, watched like milk on fire by a constant English rearguard throughout the meeting, and rarely incisive except on an acceleration which should have allowed Marco Verratti to make the break (56th), the he international tricolor had a frustrating evening. Worse, he did not get the slightest opportunity to score, and played an entire Champions League match without hitting towards the opposing goal for the first time in his career.
If a failed offensive performance can happen, and could be largely forgiven after his dazzling European performances in previous rounds – four goals against Barça, two against Bayern -, it has not really been compensated in the attitude Wednesday evening. “Mbappé is a little diva in the way he behaves,” even launched the former German international, Sandro Wagner, at the microphone of DAZN.
Neymar, he at least has the merit of having produced a convincing first period, largely participating in the sometimes brilliant construction phases of the Parisians. Consistent in his performance since his return from injury in early April, the former Barcelona could even have opened the scoring after a well-felt sequence with Verratti in the box, before his compatriot Ederson took off to get the ball out from under his bar (13th).
Attitudes that speak volumes
But like almost all of his partners, the international Auriverde has physically liquefied upon returning from the locker room. Often pretending to defend and offering a lot of races too often in a vacuum, when he was not prostrate around the central circle facing the English machine, returned much better oiled after the break. His stroke also with Mitchel Bakker, guilty according to Neymar of having delivered him a bad ball, also says a lot about the frustration that gnawed at him throughout the meeting. A disturbing attitude vis-à-vis a young teammate – the Dutchman trained at Ajax is only 20 years old – who did not risk at that time of the match allowing certain individuals to regain confidence while the scenario rocked.
Their respective performance, but also and above all the attitudes interviewed must quickly be erased before the return round, next Tuesday. They can do it. To reach the C1 final for the second time in a row, Paris will need its two stars concerned. Because without its pilots at the level of an event like this, the PSG has a good chance of experiencing an exit from the road.