PSG lacked intensity against United

Coach Tuchel says team acted ‘weird’ during 2-1 home defeat


REUTERS October 21, 2020
LONDON:

Paris St Germain's formidable attacking trio normally strike fear into opponents, but in Tuesday's 2-1 home defeat to Manchester United in their Champions League opener there was no collective response when the forwards misfired.

Neymar, Angel Di Maria and Kylian Mbappe were disappointing and the French champions lacked aggressiveness and intelligence elsewhere to make up for their stars' under-par performances.

"There was no intensity, no aggressiveness, no pressing, no counter pressing. It was weird, I don't know why," lamented coach Thomas Tuchel, whose team looked subdued throughout in a first group stage home defeat in 25 years.

Tuchel replaced Idrissa Gueye by forward Moise Kean at halftime when PSG trailed 1-0 following Bruno Fernandes's penalty, but the decision left a hole in midfield rather than adding creativity to the front line.

Tuchel said Gueye was injured - the third midfielder to be ruled out with a physical problem after Marco Verratti and Leandro Paredes - but he waited until the 77th to send another midfielder Rafinha onto the field.

"It was not a tactical problem. There was a problem with the intensity and the attitude," Tuchel said.

Less than two months after reaching the Champions League final, PSG looked ordinary at best. Tuchel had no explanation as Neymar failed to score in four consecutive games in the competition for the first time since 2013.

"I don't know. We had a lot of problems during the first half especially. We had a good preparation, with good games and good training sessions," said Tuchel.

Tuchel, whose contract expires at the end of the season, said he had a bad feeling before kickoff at an empty Parc des Princes.

"The atmosphere in the dressing room before the match was a little bit too quiet," he said. "I had a weird feeling. Usually there's a lot of music, loud music and there it was very quiet." 

Dortmund issued early European warning

Borussia Dortmund returned from Rome with a black eye following Tuesday's 3-1 loss to Lazio in the Champions League, a stern warning that they must shape up quickly or face an early exit from Europe's elite club competition.

The Germans, finalists in 2013, hardly put up a fight and their only glimmer of hope of getting something from the match was when Erling Haaland cut the deficit to 2-1 in the 71st minute.

But the Italians put the game to bed five minutes later to hand Dortmund their second loss of the season following a Bundesliga defeat in the second round of matches.

"If we play like that then we can forget about advancing to the next round and the coming weeks will be very intense and hard," said Sebastian Kehl, head of the Dortmund players' department."Obviously this is not the way to present oneself. We absolutely deserved to lose. Only a few players came anywhere near their limits."

Dortmund are bottom of Group F, with Club Brugge on top with Lazio after beating Zenit St Petersburg 2-1.

With the Ruhr Valley derby against Schalke 04 on Saturday, Kehl knows there is no time to waste.

"Our performance was inexplicable. It was just desolate," he said. "We have the derby on the weekend and there we have to expect a different fight. We have to present ourselves differently."

Dortmund host Zenit next Wednesday in their second Champions League group game and coach Lucien Favre has his work cut out.

"This is not a good start for us. I said we can lose a game because there is a home match and four more matches," said Favre."But this was not good. This is a fight and we have to be present. I am very disappointed."

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