If there was ever a time to throw superlatives around, it was after Paris Saint-Germain’s 6-1 win over AS Saint-Étienne on Wednesday night in the quarter-finals of the Coupe de la Ligue.
Against Les Verts, Mauro Icardi, Neymar Jr., and Kylian Mbappé all got on the scoresheet and Angel Di Maria recorded an assist. It was a brilliant night for PSG’s Fantastic Four and midfielder Marco Verratti was asked about their efforts as reported by Le Parisien.
“We are lucky to have four of the ten best players in the world. Having them all in Paris is incredible. This is why the coach chose to change the system. Leaving one of the four on the bench is really difficult for football. Thanks to the work in training, we also manage to defend well and recover the ball. If we want to play like this, we all have to make the effort. I also congratulate them because they are the first to defend and it is very important.”
The system that Verratti is referring to is the 4-4-2 formation that deploys Di Maria and Neymar on the wings and Mbappé and Icardi leading the attack.
Obviously, with that much attacking firepower, you’re leaving a lot of space behind for the midfielders, like Verratti, to try and cover.
The formation requires the four attacking players to track back and work to win the ball back, a concept that Verratti says hit home in the Champions League match against Real Madrid.
“We talked in the locker room after the Madrid game. We said to ourselves that if we wanted to change the system, everyone had to run. In today’s football, in the big teams, there are only great players and if you don’t press them, they can play ball. That’s why we changed our mentality a bit. You are the first to see it and it is a pleasure because we can play with the strongest on the field.”
PSG has eight matches before they travel to Germany to face Borussia Dortmund in the Round of 16 of the UEFA Champions League where the new formation will truly be tested.
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