As before going for a dip in this period of great heat, it was necessary to get your neck wet on Sunday evening before witnessing the first convincing success of PSG version Galtier, during the Champions Trophy, against Nantes. Because the difference with the kind of shapeless thing that dragged its old carcass throughout the 2021-2022 season under the orders of Mauricio Pochettino is violent. After the victory of his 4-0, the new Parisian boss also wanted to pay tribute to his Argentinian predecessor: “If we are there, it is because the group was champion with a coach to whom I wink of an eye, part of this trophy goes to Mauricio”.
We do not doubt for a moment the sincerity of the former Lille with regard to “Poché” but we will allow ourselves to be a little more nuanced, although in agreement on one point: we must give back to Mauricio what belongs in Mauritius. If this new PSG has won over all the supporters and followers of the Rouge et Bleu, it’s also because it’s been more than a year and a half since we’ve had little or no pleasure in watching a match. of Parisians.
Day and night with the Pochettino team
In the space of an hour and a half, we have seen almost everything we expected from Paris Saint-Germain when the former Tottenham manager arrived on the bench in January 2021. Starting with a defense at three, Galtier’s No. 1 system as announced during his induction press conference in July, but also, pell-mell, the contribution of the Hakimi and Nuno Mendes pistons on the sides, the permanent movement, repetitions of passes, complicity and intense pressing when the ball is lost by attacking players. Which will also make Antoine Kombouaré laugh during the match. A bit lodger, the Nantes coach launched a nice “So, are you defending now? to Neymar after a good job of retreating from the Brazilian on a Nantes player.
At a press conference, Christophe Galtier said he appreciated what he saw on Sunday, confirmation of the good preparation of the Parisians during their tour of Japan. “I liked the way the team expressed itself, with always this desire to attack, to have control of the game and also this desire to recover the ball as quickly as possible, he declared. . We conceded two situations, we had many chances. There are still things to refine but I am very satisfied that we scored four goals. It’s an important success to start a season, we must not trivialize the victories, the trophies. »
Nor should we trivialize the performance of the Messi-Neymar duo, light years away from what they were able to achieve together last season. Returning it seems with real intentions of making people forget the infamous 2021 vintage, the two Barça friends lit up the match at all levels and each scored a magnificent goal, Messi dribbling Lafont with his fingers in his nose, the Ney by depositing a cake on a free kick in the skylight of the Nantes goalkeeper.
An atmosphere found within the group
After the match, captain Marquinhos insisted on underlining the importance of Galtier in the great success of PSG. “It showed on the pitch today. He [Messi] was very comfortable in a position that he likes. I think the coach managed to bring out the best of the players today, it was seen in everyone’s performance, from Ney, from Messi. »
Beyond the purely sporting aspect, it is perhaps the general attitude of the Parisians that contrasts with last season. Throughout the evening, as during the Japanese tour in July, we saw a group smiling, united and visibly happy to live together. The little toro improvised the day before during the last training, with the hilarious Parisians, hand in hand two by two, sums up this new trend well.
If some might see this as an insignificant and somewhat “gnagnan” detail, make no mistake: when they arrived in Paris, Galtier and his staff specifically targeted the lack of solidarity and complicity between Parisians, accustomed under Pochettino to living in clans, as being one of the causes of the team’s failures on the pitch. In particular, by forcing the players to take breakfasts and lunches together, all without mobile phones at hand, the Galtier-Campos duo wanted to promote discussions at the table and maintain the good mood seen in recent weeks in the group.
So far, the first measures seem to bear fruit and find an extension on the ground. Always lucid when it comes to analyzing his heart team, Antoine Kombouaré was not mistaken after the defeat: “We saw a very disciplined team, a team with players who work for the collective. When they lose the ball, they are able to press high. We see a lot of freshness in this team and when we see happy players on the pitch, they are efficient. It is clear that it is not the same PSG that we saw last season. »