As before taking a dip in this period of great heat, it was necessary to wet your neck on Sunday night before witnessing the first resounding success of the PSG Galtier version, during the Champions Trophy, against Nantes. Because the difference with the kind of shapeless thing that dragged its old carcass throughout the 2021-2022 season under the command of Mauricio Pochettino is violent. After the victory of his 4-0, the new Parisian coach also wanted to pay tribute to his Argentine predecessor: “If we are there it is because the group came out champions with a coach to whom I winked, part of this trophy goes to Mauricio” .
We don’t doubt for a moment the sincerity of the former Lille player regarding ‘Poché’ but we will allow ourselves to be a little more nuanced, although we do agree on one point: Mauricio must be given back what belongs to Mauricio. If this new PSG has won over all the fans and supporters of the Rouge et Bleu, it is also because it has been more than a year and a half since we have enjoyed little or nothing of seeing a game of the Parisians.
Day and night with the Pochettino team
In the span of an hour and a half, we saw almost everything we expected from Paris Saint-Germain when the former Tottenham manager took the bench in January 2021. Starting with a defense of three, Galtier’s No. 1 system, as as he announced during his induction press conference in July, but also, without comparison, the contribution of the pistons of Hakimi and Nuno Mendes on the wings, the permanent movement, the repetitions of passes, the complicity and the intense pressure when the ball is lost by the attackers. Which will also make Antoine Kombouaré laugh during the match. A little unsettled, the Nantes coach launched a sympathetic “So, are you defending now? to Neymar after a good job of withdrawing from the Brazilian on a Nantes player.
At a press conference, Christophe Galtier said that he valued what was seen on Sunday, confirmation of the good preparation of the Parisians during their tour of Japan. “I liked the way the team expressed themselves, always with that desire to attack, to have control of the game and also that desire to recover the ball as quickly as possible”, he declared. We fit two situations, we had many chances. There are still things to fine-tune but I am very satisfied that we have scored four goals. It is an important success to start a season, we must not trivialize the victories, the trophies. »
Nor should we trivialize the performance of the Messi-Neymar duo, light years ahead of what they were able to achieve together last season. Coming back, it seems with real intentions to forget the infamous 2021 vintage, the two Barça friends ignited the game at all levels and each scored a magnificent goal, Messi dribbling Lafont with his fingers in the nose, Ney depositing a cake on a fault in the skylight of the Nantes goalkeeper.
An atmosphere found within the group.
After the match, captain Marquinhos insisted on underlining Galtier’s importance in PSG’s great success. “It showed on the court today. The [Messi] He was very comfortable in a position that he likes. I think the coach knew how to get the best out of the players today, he saw himself in everyone’s performance, Neymar, Messi. »
Beyond the purely sporting aspect, it is perhaps the general attitude of the Parisians that contrasts with last season. Throughout the evening, as during the Japanese tour in July, we saw a group smiling, united and visibly happy to live together. The improvised bull the day before during the last training session, with the hilarious Parisians, hand in hand two by two, sums up this new trend well.
If some may see this as an insignificant and somewhat “gnagnan” detail, make no mistake: when they arrived in Paris, Galtier and his staff specifically pointed out the lack of solidarity and complicity among Parisians, accustomed by Pochettino to living in clans, as being one of the causes of the team’s failures on the pitch. Specifically, by forcing the players to have breakfast and lunch together, all without their mobiles at hand, the Galtier-Campos duo wanted to encourage discussions at the table and maintain the good humor that has been seen in recent weeks at the cluster.
At the moment, the first measures seem to bear fruit and find an extension on the ground. Always lucid when it comes to analyzing the team in his heart, Antoine Kombouaré was not wrong after the defeat: “We saw a very disciplined team, a team with players who work for the team. When they lose the ball, they are able to press high. We see a lot of freshness in this team and when we see happy players on the pitch, they are efficient. It is clear that it is not the same PSG that we saw last season. »
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