As we meet… Five years after their last duel, in 2016, Paris Saint-Germain faces Manchester City in the semi-finals of the Champions League. First round of this "Golfico" this Wednesday (9 p.m.), at the Parc des Princes. At the time, it was the Citizens of Manuel Pellegrini who had the best of the Rouge et Bleu of Laurent Blanc (2-2, 1-0). However, Paris seemed better armed and advanced on the starting line in the costume of the favorite, before this quarter-final of C1. “Yes, the evidence is there, confirmed Marcel Desailly before the first leg. PSG shows a more substantial strike force, ”added the former world champion, on the same line as most observers at that time. And this even if Blanc did not let himself go to share this overwhelming enthusiasm: “If we are favorite? I don't care, ”he blurted out.This is the only time when the one we nickname “The President” was right. Because for the rest, Laurent Blanc did not see clearly.
- PSG-Manchester City, the match of the ultra-rich
Deprived of Marco Verratti and Javier Pastore on the first leg, the Parisians especially lacked bite, success and serenity on the first leg, at the Parc des Princes, on April 6. Despite several opportunities to increase their advantage, including a missed penalty from Zlatan Ibrahimovic, they ended up having to settle for a 2-2 draw. The second English goal, the work of Fernandinho in the 72nd minute, it was for Serge Aurier, who was to everyone's surprise for his first match since February 10. Pushed by Nasser Al-Khelaïfi, Laurent Blanc had reinstated the Ivorian international… who had insulted him a few weeks earlier on Periscope. "He is part of the PSG family", "NAK" had justified after the meeting. Losing bet ... Said Aurier is not however responsible for the non-match of his team,as feverish as awkward during those first 90 minutes. "Today, it was average, it was not the PSG that we are used to seeing", railed Thiago Motta. And to add, in view of the return match: “We will have to find our game, a game in which the ball goes quickly and where there are not many touches of the ball. We are used to playing offensively. We always have. We will try to go to Manchester to win. ” Blanc wanted to be confident: “I really believe in it”.We will try to go to Manchester to win. ” Blanc wanted to be confident: “I really believe in it”.We will try to go to Manchester to win. ” Blanc wanted to be confident: “I really believe in it”.
An astonishing, experimental, dizzying 3-5-2
If they had the hope of getting back on time for a while, Verratti and Pastore lost their race against the clock, at least in the optics of a place in the starting XI.
Warned to go, David Luiz and Blaise Matuidi were not available either.
Faced with this avalanche of pips, Blanc “took everyone by surprise by deciding neither more nor less to change the system.
Exit his irremovable 4-3-3 for almost three years.
And up to an astonishing, experimental, dizzying 3-5-2 ”, reported our special correspondent at the Etihad Stadium on April 12, 2016, Vincent Duchesne, evoking before the match a“ daring, even perilous bet ”.
Well done, comrade ...
Because it is a borrowed Paris Saint-Germain, voiceless, visibly disturbed that we saw wandering on the Mancunian lawn during the first 45 minutes of this second round. “It was the first time we played like this, but tactics are no excuse. It was to surprise the Manchester City team a bit, ”said Thiago Silva at the end of the meeting. Except that it was the Parisians who were taken aback. Tasteless first period, which only ended with a goalless score only thanks to a penalty missed by Sergio Aguero. Just before the break, another hard blow: hit in the thigh, Motta stopped there. White took the opportunity to… return to his usual tactical scheme. And PSG was a little more dashing after the break. Just a little. And what had to happen happened,with Kevin de Bruyne who crucified Kevin Trapp and Paris with a beautiful rolled shot, a quarter of an hour from the end. Laurent Blanc's men should have scored twice to reach the last four. They did not score (1-0 final score). "He especially lacked a little personality in the first period", railed Thiago Silva.
- PSG has Neymar and Mbappé, in Manchester City, the star is called De Bruyne
In the end, Paris-SG left England with a fourth elimination in a row in the quarter-finals and suitcases full of regrets.
“Paris, apart from passing the ball in defense… We were never in danger during this match.
They hardly had any chances, ”thundered De Bruyne, as ruthless in front of the microphones as he was with a bullet.
The Belgian international, still at City, had already scored the first goal in the first leg.
And he could boast, he who had held his place.
Unlike Parisian executives… “The bankruptcy of a collective, summarized Vincent Duchesne, from the Etihad, pinning in particular“ Ibra ”and Angel Di Maria.
It is also and above all the bankruptcy of a man, Laurent Blanc.
His decision to revolutionize everything with a new system did not work.
Worse, he destabilized his team.
With Aurier as a symbol.
Already poorly performing at the Parc des Princes, the Ivorian has never ceased to stir up a wind of feverishness in a Parisian rear guard yet perfectly protected by Thiago Silva.
The PSG captain was monstrous.
Who was not followed.
Unfortunately for Paris ... "
"I am responsible, I take defeat for myself"
"I am responsible, I take defeat for myself"
After the failure, the time to take stock quickly arrived. "PSG, the end of a generation", headlined
judged that "this failure (was) first of all that of Laurent Blanc and the Ibrahimovic generation". Nasser Al-Khelaïfi, he did not intend to make a shattering declaration after the game: “If we take a decision on the spot, it will surely be a bad decision. We must think about how to improve the team, the club, ”said the Qatari president. And to add, about the future of Laurent Blanc, extended a few weeks before until 2018: "We have confidence in him". The rest, we know it: Zlatan had gone English, to MU, and White had not spent the summer, despite a quadruplet on the national scene. “I am responsible, agreed the Cévennes coach at the Etihad Stadium. It was I who made the team, who chose the players and the strategy. When you win,the players are responsible for winning, when you lose the coach is. So I take defeat for myself. " That's good, everyone gave it to him. Starting with Nasser Al-Khelaïfi and some others in Doha ...
- PSG-Manchester City: a war of geopolitical influence between Qatar and Emirates
However, it took four years and the “Final 8” in Lisbon last season to see Paris finally pass this quarterfinal mark. In fact, PSG have fallen three times in a row in the 8th, including two XXL humiliations against FC Barcelona (2017) and Manchester United (2019), and an inglorious off track against Real (2018). “I said I was aiming for the Champions League when I arrived in 2017, recalls Neymar Jr. We are on the verge of victory. You have to keep working and persevere to win. ” This will require passing on the body of Pep Guardiola's players, who had not climbed in the semi-finals since 2016. One thing is certain: May 29 in Istanbul in the final, against the former winners of Chelsea or Real Madrid ( 1-1 on the first leg), there will be a club looking for the first Champions League in its history.It remains to be seen which one ...
Champions League: schedule and results