After not mincing his words at a press conference on Monday, sparking a lively controversy over Paris Saint-Germain’s carbon footprint, Christophe Galtier spent much of the match won by his team against Juventus Turin on Tuesday September 6, at the Parc des Princes (2-1), gum good. The translation of a form of pressure felt by Galtier, not by his comments on the “sailing car”, but more so because he passed his first real test on the PSG coaching bench.
Galtier did not miss his return to school in the European Cup, along with his protégés. The step was high, however, for whom so far he had only known a C1 campaign with Lille (zero victory in six outings). After having started (almost) perfectly his tenure at PSG, with six victories and 27 goals scored in seven games, the Champions League was presented, the absolute goal of the capital club.
Against a Juventus that PSG had never beaten and against Massimiliano Allegri, his very experienced counterpart (95 games played in C1, two finals in 2015 and 2017), Christophe Galtier found a formula that still needs to be refined. PSG knows how to turn on the steamroller mode, even in the Champions League, as in the first half on Tuesday night, in which the Turinese did not see the light.
The system with three defenders and two pistons, which he experienced in Ligue 1, allows the “MNM” (Kylian Mbappé, Neymar, Lionel Messi) to express themselves in the best way. His closeness on the pitch and his understanding were once again noticeable against the Old Lady, although Messi seemed a step below his two teammates. “I am very satisfied with what the team has done, in the way of combining and attacking”Galtier reacted at a press conference after the game.
Forgotten the “penaltygate” at the beginning of the season, Neymar and Mbappé are inspired and Galtier seems to have achieved the feat of convincing his attackers to run to defend. The system also allows Nuno Mendes and Achraf Hakimi, passer yesterday, to devour the spaces on the sides. In the middle, “Verratti and Vitinha are very well connected. They are a couple that gives me a lot of satisfaction”Galtier assured.
But his team still appears to be largely perfectible. The constant activity of the technician in his technical area also reflects a permanent search for adjustment. Christophe Galtier recognized a weakness in his tactical device: “In this system it is physically hard. When there is a little less gas, or a more complicated replacement, it can put us in trouble from a defensive point of view. (…) We have a very dynamic game, carried forward, but we should have mastered the difficult moments better, put more of our foot on the ball”.
The Parisian coach is not the only one who has identified areas for improvement. “Even if there is a victory, there are still a lot of things to improve (…). We have to manage our weak moments, which must not be too weak. It is still the beginning of the season, we will continue to work “Kylian Mbappé acknowledged at the Canal + microphone.
The season will be long, interrupted by the World Cup in November-December, and PSG will have to play on several fronts. Squad and agency management will be key to continuing to use this three-defense system. The French coach underlined it when wishing to find a “new pair in the middle”, to blow Vitinha and Verratti.
Still, PSG won against Juve, as Paris did in the past during the group stage against the main European teams. Just under a year ago, the capital club beat Manchester City at home (2-0). But without convincing and looking for an offensive identity. The latter, Galtier’s PSG already seems to have found him at the beginning of the season.
There is still time in Paris, as Mbappé said into the microphone of Channel+for “continue working”. These types of games, with the pockets of air that PSG found, also allow Galtier to identify at the beginning of the season the missing ingredients to find the perfect formula. “Winning on difficulty allows the group to grow”, The Parisian coach launched during a press conference that had begun qualifying as “Bad taste” his joke of land yachts. The only setback for him since his arrival at PSG.
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