Tuesday May 30, 2023
Tuesday May 30, 2023

Pressure on as PSG plays Bayern

2023 Feb 13, 12:29, Paris
Barcelona's Gerard Pique, right, tries to stop PSG's Kylian Mbappe during the Champions League, 2021. (Photo: AP)

 Coach Christophe Galtier was good at identifying Paris Saint-Germain’s weaknesses when his former teams faced the club.

Galtier was undefeated in five games against PSG in two seasons with Lille and Nice, without even conceding a goal, so PSG hired the shrewd tactician as its new coach in July.

However, Galtier seems unable to remedy the same problem areas he expertly exploited, and PSG is under heavy pressure for Tuesday’s home game against Bayern Munich in the first leg of their round-of-16 clash in the Champions League.

“We need to do less talking, work hard, analyze things properly,” said Galtier, who has genuine cause to worry.

PSG has lost four of its past 10 games with the defense leaking 13 goals, while Bayern is hitting form having scored 11 goals in three matches.

“Of course our players have their pride, so do I,” Galtier said. “Yes, we’re worried (about facing Bayern). But we must keep a clear head.”

Yet Galtier has a headache up front.

Neymar, the world’s most expensive player at 222 million euros ($237 million), has been anonymous recently for PSG.

Kylian Mbappé is expected to miss Tuesday’s game as he recovers from a thigh injury. Lionel Messi is nursing a sore hamstring but Galtier said the World Cup winner should be available.

Unbeaten before the World Cup, PSG’s form has nose-dived. The defending French champion has been outplayed in comprehensive defeats at Lens, Rennes, Marseille and Monaco.

Also, four of PSG’s five wins during this 10-game spell were against either struggling top-flight teams or small sides in the French Cup. Furthermore, another sloppy performance saw PSG conceding a stoppage-time equalizer in a home draw with Reims.

“The time has come to shut our mouths, we know we have to improve a lot,” PSG captain Marquinhos said after last week’s French Cup defeat to Marseille, imploring his teammates to urgently react.

The World Cup top scorer Mbappé, who missed the defeats to Marseille and Monaco, posted a message on Instagram in a bid to motivate teammates and fans.

“Let’s stay strong & united,” he wrote.

Yet tensions appear to be running high at a cash-rich club desperate to win the Champions League for the first time, yet also bidding to avoid a second straight elimination in the last 16 after last season’s humiliating defeat by Real Madrid.

Some 50 PSG ultras made their feelings known on Sunday, with the fans jeering the players as they arrived at training.

“I understand the anger of the fans,” Galtier said.


Christophe Galtier coach Paris Saint-Germain bayern Neymar lens Rennes Marseille Mbappe Champions League Real Madrid
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