Former French international Robert Pires provided insight into how Paris Saint-Germain collapsed in its UEFA Champions League semifinal first leg clash with Manchester City.
PSG blew a 1-0 lead in the opening fixture of its semifinal tie against Manchester City. The French powerhouse struggled to create multiple high-percentage goal-scoring chances and had difficulties against Manchester City’s pressing system.
Pires noted that this was an overall impressive showing from Pep Guardiola’s side. In speaking to Le Parisien, Pires singled out Guardiola’s game plan as being the reason why Manchester City secured the massive away win.
“When I see the intensity that City put in, it’s normal for Paris to go down,” Pires said. “Because I found that Guardiola’s team really exhausted these Parisians, in this possession of the ball, in this way of making them run from right to left, one relay, two relays in the middle and, when you have players like De Bruyne and Foden, you always find shifts and a solution.
“But of course, he won with his method. He knew very well how Paris worked, he prepared perfectly for this match. They never panicked even when Marquinhos scored. And, in the second half, they continued with the same pattern, the same set-up.”
Pires also touched on just how PSG had success over the opening first half of the fixture.
“It’s the relay between the middle and the Neymar and Mbappe duo,” Pires said. “In the first half, it was going well because there were spaces and we managed to touch them. And then City cut off that relationship. Guardiola had to correct that at halftime. That’s why Kylian and Neymar disappeared.”
Pires sees that PSG can mount a comeback in this tie, as the Ligue 1 side is capable of picking up yet another away Champions League win in this season’s knockout stage.
In the meantime, PSG will return to Ligue 1 action up next with a home match against RC Lens.
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