“Mbappé, Neymar and Messi risk the team’s block” / C1 / Gr.H / Maccabi Haifa-PSG (1-3) / SOFOOT.com

The left back trained by Paris Saint-Germain, spent in the capital club from 1994 to 1998, then from 2001 to 2003, Didier Domi shared the performance of the Parisians in the land of Maccabi Haifa (3-1) in occasion of the second day of the Champions League.


How can we analyze this disappointing first period of PSG against Maccabi Haifa? It recalls, in sequence, some of the bad features seen last year.
We see these bad parts mainly because we missed many times, some of which are easy to achieve. I have in mind a face-to-face with Neymar and another occasion where Kylian Mbappé lingered. Two situations where, with their qualities, it should be an easy goal. Paris had 3-4 clear chances passing behind their defense but lacked efficiency in the final movement. This puts Paris Saint-Germain in difficult situations, it forces them to give up chances. There was a lack of inspiration, of intensity too, and it must be said that Maccabi had a good first period.

“This PSG can open any safe as it will lose against anyone. »

The Mbappé-Neymar-Messi trio quickly cut themselves off from the rest of the team. Does this explain the quickness that Maccabi players have shown to be so dangerous?
It’s clear. This is an observation we experienced last week against Juventus. They make life difficult for Vitinha and Marco Verratti! (Laughter.) Failing to do all terrain pressing like big teams, we don’t have this concern to make the effort, just to get back behind the ball. At angles where they can cut passes, facing the ball carrier. It requires a little generosity, and that, it is not yet in Paris. If attack is based on the ball, defense is based on work. You can’t ask Lionel Messi to make the same effort as Verratti or Vitinha, but you can ask him to go 10-15 meters to get the back of the ball. To interfere with the opponent. We didn’t see it over time, like against Juve.

Whether it’s Juventus or Maccabi Haifa tonight, the opposition is not very strong. Can this team thrive with its trio when the odds are greater?
If you have these three great players, you don’t have to deprive yourself of them. The quality of Leo Messi’s passing, Neymar’s amazing form, Mbappé who also scored… I believe that they can do it, that they can develop together without punishing the team defensively, but you need a knowledge in ninety minutes. They put the team block in danger at times, and I don’t think they know it. It goes through a slightly stronger message from Christophe Galtier and via video. This PSG can open any safety as he can lose against anyone. For a team of this level – which I assess to have the same criteria as other great European players such as Bayern, Manchester City, Real or FC Barcelona for example – they concede a lot chance against a like Maccabi Haifa. Their team’s block is tighter, they have a better understanding of defensive concepts and a more prepared tactic to lose the ball. However, there are still good things and I think especially of Mbappé.

What did you think of Mbappé’s performance?
There was this lack around the last thirty meters of the first half, but there we saw that Paris has world-class players. You should also know that this is the tenth game in a row in the Champions League in which he has been decisive (Kylian Mbappé has scored 9 goals and provided 6 assists in PSG’s last ten C1 games, editor’s note). It’s amazing to realize that at the age of 23 only. This is why I force the collective knowledge that he, Neymar and Messi need: to tell themselves that Paris has a way to go to everything, and that it will go through them.

“Sometimes we ask too much of defenders, and we forget that defensive work is everyone’s business, that it includes defensive substitution in particular”

Since the transfer to Istanbul Başakşehir (2-0) in October 2020, the capital club has always conceded at least one goal in the last ten Champions League games. What do you think of the defensive performance in Paris?
Speaking specifically about the defensive side of this PSG, I see that there are still concerns in the management of space. Especially when Danilo Pereira plays, because he still has midfield reflexes: he tends to come out and not read a defender’s play. Marquinhos is sometimes a bit late at times, he can also be behind Sergio Ramos at times. Can be settled. Everything from the base: because the front three defends poorly, so you leave a lot of space next to Verratti and Vitinha, you concede a lot of chances. You cannot ask all your efforts from your defense. Finally, if Paris is in the lower block, there will not be enough pressure. Unless I’m mistaken, Maccabi draws eleven times per hour because there is no team block. Sometimes we ask too much of the defenders, and we forget that the defensive job is everyone’s business, that it includes replacing the defense in particular. You can always see the character of a team by how it defends together, how aggressive it is and how much pressure it puts on.

PSG’s next match in C1 will be against Benfica on October 5. What improvement do you hope to see after two months of competition?
Right now, the team is efficient with the ball. Especially in three-way ball outings. Vitinha was very good with Verratti, I also found him very generous tonight. You can always count on the speed of Mbappé and the presence within the game of Neymar and Messi, you feel a great improvement in this area compared to last year. The team is more creative. The only disadvantage at this point is that they have too much entry into the game, sometimes they forget their backs, which are Nuno Mendes and Nordi Mukiele this Wednesday night, although they are very important to prevent the opponent’s block and participate to make these roads the heart of the game. The main line of work, in conclusion, is in counter-pressing when they lose the ball: Paris still has a lot of progress to make this point .

Interview with Andrea Chazy

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