Mbappé-dependence, philosophy, Ugarte… The lessons of a defeat which leaves a mark before Dortmund

DECRYPTION – Dive into the reasons which explain the Parisian defeat against Nice (2-3) on Friday, during the fifth day of Ligue 1.

They scored three goals and we scored two», smiles Gonçalo Ramos to explain the Parisian defeat against Nice (2-3) Friday, at the Parc des Princes. The first of the season for Luis Enrique’s players, who fell “against a good team“, as the Portuguese striker explained. “Congratulations to Nice, the players and their coach“, greeted Luis Enrique. Certainly, Francesco Farioli’s OGC Nice had a very good match, with high pressing which greatly hampered the Parisians, a solid defense and a sparkling Terem Moffi (two goals, one ist). But PSG failed on many points. “We will play better on Tuesday», Promises Luis Enrique, referring to Dortmund’s reception in the Champions League. “I’m not worried», Also indicated the Spanish coach. There is indeed no more reason to be worried after the setback against Nice than to be optimistic after the 4-1 victory in Lyon. But this match provided lessons.

Skriniar/Danilo, losing ticket

With Nuno Mendes, Nordi Mukiele and Presnel Kimpembe in the infirmary, Marquinhos returning late from his meeting with the Brazil team, Luis Enrique had few options in defense. He therefore aligned a central hinge composed of Danilo Pereira and Milan Skriniar. A bitter failure. Especially against an attacker as fast and efficient as Terem Moffi, who had fun with both players in turn. Back at a consistent level, “Marqui” helped mask Skriniar’s slowness since the start of the season. When he’s not there, it’s complicated… And Moffi, PSG will come across several in the Champions League, against Dortmund, Newcastle or Milan. Clearly, it would be better if “Lucho” was not obliged to combine the Slovak and the Portuguese in central defense in C1.

Read alsoPSG-Nice notes: Moffi bursts the screen, Soler disappears

More generally, Paris Saint-Germain once again displayed a worrying feverishness. In Lyon, the Rouge et Bleu were able to count on the saves of Gigio Donnarumma and… the clumsiness of Les Gones in front of goal. That was not the case Friday evening. “It’s up to us to improve little things, especially defensively. It’s not possible to concede three goals at home… It hurts, a defeat at home, in front of our supporters. I hope this will serve as a lesson for Tuesday.», swears Lucas Hernandez, who also delivered his least convincing match since the start of the season. More generally, PSG suffered 14 shots on Friday, including eight on target. This is obviously too much.

Ugarte, already essential

The absent are always wrong ? Not in Paris. Returning late from the rally with Uruguay, Manuel Ugarte started on the bench on Friday, only coming on at the hour mark. And it showed… Brilliant since the start of the season, the youngster (17 years old ) titi Warren Zaire-Emery had to put on the sentry costume, without success. Even physically, the native of Montreuil appeared overwhelmed, which is not his habit. Vitinha has not had the performance of recent weeks either. The two players were like orphans of the Uruguayan’s almost superhuman activity. Especially since the poor Carlos Soler delivered an extremely discreet performance as a right midfielder, an understatement. There is already a PSG with and a PSG without Manuel Ugarte, who actually did a lot of good when he came into play… even if Nice’s third goal came a few minutes after that. Essential, that’s very clear.

Luis Enrique, the clash of cultures

As one might expect, the players have qualities… which do not necessarily stick to the dogma of their coach. Is excessive possession (nearly 70% Friday) without a playmaker really possible? Can PSG come from behind despite Gigio Donnarumma’s obvious shortcomings in the kicking game? Are arrows Kylian Mbappé and Ousmane Dembélé Luis Enrique-compatible? So many questions that will only find their answers over time. Either the Spanish coach will adapt to the qualities of his squad, or the players will blend into the mold of his Catalan dogma. Although, there is a third way: the status quo. Except that this prospect is not encouraging and seems to carry within it the seeds of failure. “There were 11 recruits, a new coach, new ideas… We are adapting little by little. It’s up to us to adapt, to be aware of what the coach wants on the pitch. We try to do the maximum. There are certain automations that we do not yet have 100%, we need a little more time. But serious things start on Tuesday, so we don’t have time anymore», notes Hernandez.

Read alsoPSG: “We will play better on Tuesday” against Dortmund, promises Luis Enrique

Came into play for the first time since transfer at €90 million including bonusRandal Kolo Muani also recalls that PSG is “is a new team, there have been a lot of changes. We have to give a little time to adapt, but we will continue to work so that we can all get along well together.“. In the meantime, PSG lacked balance on Friday. Not for the same reasons as previous seasons, when the different coaches had to juggle the status of incompatible superstars. The result is the same.


A priori, PSG had to rely on its collective strength more than on the talent of its individuals this year. We’re not there yet. Mbappé-dependence is stronger than ever. “Worried ? No not at all. I like all the players who make up the offensive sector a lot. I think Kylian Mbappé will always score. It’s in his DNA. But my other players will score too, especially the offensive ones», insists Luis Enrique. In the meantime, the captain of the Blues scored a third double in a row in L1 on Friday, having scored seven of the 10 Parisian goals since the start of the season. Remember that Mbappé was still in the closet for PSG-Lorient (0-0) and that he had only entered in the second period in Toulouse (1-1).

If PSG is still so dependent on Mbappé, it is because the other Parisians must have struggled to be effective. Only three shots on target out of 12 on Friday. An illness which particularly affects Ousmane Dembélé, who once again shone through with his lack of accuracy against Nice. Gonçalo Ramos is not used as his profile would seem to require by his partners. “I have to stay the same play, work every day, and the goals will come», swears the Portuguese, generous in working without the ball. The solution will perhaps come from those who entered their place on Friday, the restless Randal Kolo Muani, author of a decisive p… for Mbappé, and the young Bradley Barcola.

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