lose culture? Mbappe’s PSG reflects on recent Champions League failure

PARIS: Paris Saint-Germain were convinced Kylian Mbappe would be persuaded to stay to finally bring them Champions League glory, but failure to build a strong enough team around the French superstar has led to another early exit contributed from Europe.

In Wednesday’s 2-0 defeat by Bayern Munich in Germany, the Qatari club lost their round of 16 game 3-0 on aggregate and were eliminated in the round of 16 for the fifth time in seven years.

PSG’s run to the 2020 final now looks even more like an anomaly, taking place in a pandemic-hit season when the Champions League was reduced to a mini-tournament behind closed doors.

There was celebration last May when Mbappe agreed a new three-year deal to stay with Lionel Messi and Neymar in the French capital rather than join Real Madrid.

With the appointment of Portuguese super scout Luis Campos as head of recruitment and Christophe Galtier as coach to replace Mauricio Pochettino, an exciting new team should follow.

It’s hard to argue now that PSG are stronger with the likes of Vitinha and Fabian Ruiz than last year’s Angel di Maria and Leandro Paredes.

“It’s not about building the squad. It’s just the story of the season. We were missing important players. The squad was severely weakened across both legs,” Galtier said on Wednesday.

– ‘This is our maximum’ –

He had one point, with Mbappe only able to make one cameo off the bench after suffering a hamstring injury as PSG lost 1-0 to Bayern in the first leg.

Neymar is out with an ankle injury, while Presnel Kimpembe is absent and both defenders Marquinhos and Nordi Mukiele were substituted during Wednesday’s game.

“It was a very busy season. A lot was demanded of the players’ bodies. There was the World Cup and of course if you finish in the last 16 it’s good to have everyone available,” said Galtier.

PSG pinned their hopes on Mbappe and Messi turning the tie in Munich but the latter had little impact while the French superstar saw just 32 touches.

“As I said in my first Champions League press conference this season, we will give our maximum. The truth is, that’s our maximum,” admitted Mbappe, about whose future there is now increasing speculation.

Others wonder why a club couldn’t use PSG’s funds to build a squad deep enough around Mbappe to remain competitive despite the injuries.

“If Paris Saint-Germain have ambitions to win the Champions League, they need to sign players who are of the required standard,” said David Ginola, a former star of the club and now a Canal Plus pundit.

“I think they will find the success they are looking for the day they stop betting everything on one player. When are we going to talk about a team?”

– Messi going away? –

One reason PSG have not been able to build the team they want despite the wealth of their Qatari owners is money.

With so much money for Mbappe’s new contract and the need to comply with UEFA’s financial fair play rules, they failed to land the much-needed centre-back.

Messi is out of contract after this season. There have been talks of extending that deal, but he turns 36 in June and it might be prudent to invest the money needed elsewhere.

There may be doubts about Galtier’s own future as the manager is aware that winning Ligue 1 alone may not be enough.

“We know how important the Champions League is for PSG,” said Galtier.

“There are many expectations. If we just win the championship, was it a bad season? The big regret is that we were not able to compete with all our strength in this duel.”

There are no guarantees that a full-strength PSG would have beat Bayern or won the Champions League.

In 11 seasons of competition in the Qatar era, they have won just seven two-legged knockout games.

“There is no reason why in 2023 Paris Saint-Germain will learn the lessons they haven’t learned in ten years,” Vincent Duluc wrote in sports daily L’Equipe.

“There is also no reason to deny that losing in the Champions League round of 16 is a culture for PSG.” -AFP

https://www.thesundaily.my/home/losing-culture-mbappe-s-psg-reflect-on-latest-champions-league-failure-LE10728120 lose culture? Mbappe’s PSG reflects on recent Champions League failure

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