Left side trained at Paris Saint-Germain and spent by the capital club from 1994 to 1998, then from 2001 to 2003, Didier Domi analyzes the almost miraculous victory of PSG at Manchester United.
We expected another PSG at Old Trafford after the collective porridge against Leipzig. By concealing the result, do you think that Paris was present in the game this Wednesday evening?
Sometimes, yes. There were times when Paris was good, especially in the first fifteen to twenty minutes. The exit of the ball was very good with Danilo Pereira who came between Marquinhos and Presnel Kimpembe, our side went up and PSG posed many problems for Manchester United. Why? Because we had a 3 against 2 behind in our favor, because Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial struggled to contain Alessandro Florenzi and Abdou Diallo during this time, and finally because our line of attack fixed the Mancunian defense. This allowed us to see many crosses from Florenzi, we also defended quite well, but behind, Manchester took over the game.
This good start to the Parisian scene, because it so characterized by the fact of isolating Bruno Fernandes for twenty minutes.
He did have Danilo on him some times while Leandro Paredes and Marco Verratti were out on the other two midfielders. Also, when Bruno Fernandes went to the side, he was well surrounded, because we managed to be in number to surround them in these situations. It is the PSG that we want to see, the one that makes efforts at all levels.
We have often pointed out the problem that Paris has when it aligns Neymar, Mbappé, and Ángel Di María together: the lack of effort at the loss of the ball. According to you, is this a factor that could have influenced the non-tenure of the Argentine against Manchester?
At the top table, we also speak about the gap between the center and the defense. Nevertheless, in my opinion, what is often crucial is the space between the middle and the attack. As against Bayern in the final last year or other matches, this trio does not make the effort all the time and, suddenly, Paris takes successive waves, especially because the opposing fullbacks can rise. There is some truth to Moise Kean defending more, but whoever they are, the front three should always stay connected to the rest of the squad. When they are no longer, it is the beginning of the problems. When Manchester United regained control of the game, whether it was between midfield and attack and even just between Verratti and Paredes, there were too many gaps.
Throughout the match, Paris once again suffered in midfield. Does this medium have the level required for important matches in C1?
In the Champions League, you need concentration. It takes consistency in the replacement, the recovery is very important. Indeed, at times it does not just concern the three in front: Paredes and Danilo do not have many automatisms and were not close enough to each other. This is in part what allowed MU to create shifts and hurt PSG.
On Rashford’s equalizer, Kimpembe and Diallo both rush on Wan-Bissaka. We also saw in the second half that the Mancunian game leaned heavily on the Parisian left side. How do you explain this flaw?
The spaces in the middle on the one hand allowed Manchester to have more time to find good passes in the Paris camp. Then it is a matter of placement. At one point, you have Diallo who does not tighten enough, in the next situation, you have Presnel Kimpembe who does not read the game well enough and does not anticipate to take one or two meters ahead of Rashford or to close a passing angle. In the next move, Diallo climbs too high and Kimpembe must de zone to cover … Tactically, both were quite weak at times, and their poor reading of the game was enough to put PSG in danger in some situations. However, is it not worrying to have these deficiencies in December?
This is still the major problem for Tuchel. When you are in 4-4-2, you feel that there are much better automatisms than in 4-3-3 where having Verratti is essential to get the out ball. However, it is Tuchel’s fear in 4-3-3; he knows that his team does not have the consistency of the greatest teams in the recovery of the ball. The characteristics of the workforce mean that Paris is not a team like that, quite simply. Paris tries to have a balance between playing and recovering, but he is struggling. Paris loses the thread of the game to the 25 minutes at Old Trafford it is tough. You no longer have eight or nine meters between each line, but twelve or even fifteen. A-Team has the right to be dominant, but not to make these kinds of mistakes. This is not normal and, even if it is certainly already working on it, Paris still has to work a lot on this.
Around the hour mark, Tuchel's tactical change and this passage to 3-5-2 when Paris was in the hard seems to be saved after the fact. It's the case?
In C1, efficiency in both surfaces is decisive, and Anthony Martial has helped PSG because he must put at least one of the two huge chances he gets and he knows it. I think Tuchel was good at strengthening the midfield and putting Mitchel Bakker on the left side. Because he saw that, it was starting to pass too easily on this side and Diallo does not have the quality of Bakker’s center. There are three things: first, we had too much space between our lines and Paredes was starting to tire while being warned.
The second thing is that while Manchester was hurting Diallo’s back, his right side also had a lot of trouble defensively when you had Neymar and Verratti in construction putting Diallo into orbit. Therefore, Ander Herrera came to tighten the middle and Bakker came to strengthen this left side and, as we saw, was not even far from scoring. Finally, it made it possible to recreate the link between Neymar and Mbappé and made this possible by this solidification of the team. Bravo to Tuchel for that, because conversely, Solskjær should have made Fred leave well before, for example.
A word on Kylian Mbappé to finish, who lived another difficult evening in C1. Do you feel an evolution in his game?
He had a good start, but there are times when Kylian has to move forward with his decision-making. He can make a difference, but he must progress in his ability to make the right pass, to use the doublings in the right way, too finally make the right choice. Often it is against the grain, and that takes away the fluidity of the PSG game. Mbappé must be less nervous, calmer, and relaxed like a boxer when he hits his shoulder is relaxed, but his fist is iron. However, it is in its natural evolution! He needs to be calmer in big games, he puts too much weight on his shoulders and that prevents him from making the right decisions in the last pass or the finish in certain situations.