Last April, Paris Saint-Germain lost 5-1 to Lille OSC at the Stade Pierre Mauroy. It was their largest defeat since 2011 and on Sunday, Les Parisiens have an opportunity to exact some revenge.
A lot has changed since that match. If you remember, that loss to Lille came after PSG crashed out of the UEFA Champions League at the hands of Manchester United. With the Ligue 1 title essentially secured, there was little motivation for a team decimated by injuries. Juan Bernat’s red card didn’t help either.
The current version of PSG is much different. Mauro Icardi has helped transform the attack and Marco Verratti has elevated his game in the midfield to allow for a more free-flowing 4-4-2 formation that has led to the club outscoring opponents 23-6 in 2020.
In an interview with PSG TV, Verratti shared his thoughts on last year’s embarrassing loss to Lille.
“We’re not going into the game with a spirit of revenge. We know we’re going to play a strong team, a team that has had a really great last season. Even though there have been some changes, they’re a competitive team with a coach that has done good work wherever he has been. Each match is different. This time, we’re going there full of confidence, we’ll have to maintain that and give our all. It’s a great match to play, and we want to keep taking points to pull away from the chasing pack.”
Verratti was also asked about how the squad is approaching the upcoming tie against Borussia Dortmund in the Round of 16 of the UEFA Champions League.
“We’re not thinking about that game right now really. We’re in a real marathon of matches, we’re trying to focus and not think about the next one. Personally, I love football, and I watch games. I sometimes watch Dortmund matches, of course, because we’re going to play them. They’re a bit of a ‘mad’ team, anything can happen with them. They can be behind and then totally turn the game around. They never give up, they play with a lot of desire. We’ll have to be very careful and be at our best when we play them.”
Verratti’s comments about Dortmund contradict themselves a bit. You can’t say you’re not thinking about them and then say that you sometimes watch their matches. Make no mistake about it though. Every single one of the players and the manager is thinking about Dortmund. The entire season and whether Kylian Mbappé and Neymar Jr. remain in Paris depends on advancing past the Germans.
Not that I have a problem with the team already concentrating on an opponent they won’t face for weeks. Everything the team does leading up to that match should be in preparation for the trip to Signal Iduna Park next month. Tuchel should tinker with his tactics and figure out exactly what works and what doesn’t so that he can get revenge against the team that sacked him in 2017.
Want more PSG? Visit the PSG Talk Podcast Network page and subscribe to PSG Talking, The 1970, and 24th & Parc.