Better Without Messi, Neymar? The Athletic Explains Why PSG Is Stronger Under Luis Enrique

Paris Saint-Germain kicked off their 2023-24 UEFA Champions League campaign with a 2-0 win over Borussia Dortmund. The capital club didn’t make life difficult for themselves on Matchday 1, taking all three points at home in this Group of Death. 

The Ligue 1 giants are undergoing a massive change, steering away from the big superstar names like Lionel Messi and Neymar Jr., and for one match, their new philosophy worked. PSG are a few games into the Luis Enrique era, but the Spanish tactician’s influence is beginning to be notable. 

“We are only six competitive games into Luis Enrique’s PSG tenure, but there are already clear parallels between his new side and his previous one, Spain’s national team,” The Athletic’s Liam Tharme wrote. “Both have shown a desire to play dominant, high-possession football while also needing to supercharge the results of a regressing and underachieving side …

“That Galacticos approach, with Kylian Mbappe, Neymar and Messi as the forwards in a 3-4-3, produced a top-heavy side. PSG scored plenty of goals but offered next to nothing defensively, winning through individual brilliance rather than tactics, and suffering consecutive exits in the Champions League’s round of 16.”

PSG now hopes their play in the Champions League can translate consistently to Ligue 1. The French side has flashed their potential in a couple of wins, such as the games against RC Lens and Olympique Lyonnais. 

However, the squad has also shown struggles in their first two matches, resulting in a pair of draws and their 3-2 loss to OGC Nice last Friday. The Parisians will welcome Olympique de Marseille to the Parc des Princes on Sunday and look to climb up the Ligue 1 table.

Tags Lionel Messi Neymar
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