It has mostly been so far, so good for Paris Saint-Germain’s star-studded attacking trio of Lionel Messi, Neymar, and Kylian Mbappe. But from the viewpoint of former Brazilian midfielder Juninho, he sees that the three still do not contribute much when PSG is without the ball.
Speaking on RMC Sport’s “Rothen s’enflamme” program, Juninho went in-depth on why the lack of defensive contributions from Messi, Neymar, and Mbappe for PSG will not cut it when the side has to go up against the best clubs in the continent in the UEFA Champions League competition.
“Of course it’s nice to see when Paris scores seven goals or five goals at the beginning of the season,” Juninho said. “But from the moment in front there is an opponent, there is a high level, it’s complicated. When you don’t have the ball, you have to work.
“If you want to be champion and win the Champions League, you have to watch Manchester City, how they work when they lose the ball. Even when sometimes it was a 4-4-2 with Bernardo Silva and Kevin De Bruyne. If you don’t have this collective awareness, this humility to accept that football is not only about scoring goals and when you don’t have the ball you let the opponent do it easily. … It may be that in some games in Ligue 1, because you will create so many opportunities. But in other games it won’t.”
Messi, Neymar, and Mbappe have at the least shown the tendency to press during key situations on the pitch, which one can argue was not the case under now-former PSG manager Mauricio Pochettino.
PSG will receive quite a test next week in its UEFA Champions League home group stage encounter against Serie A side Juventus.
When Messi is in the heart of the game, magical things happen. When someone wants that place, it sucks!