Instructions not followed: Tuchels Alarm Analysis
Edinson Cavani almost kicks Neymar out of the field, the team repeats champions-league unworthy weaknesses: Paris St. Germain threatens the end after the 2:2 against Naples – and Thomas Tuchel became clear.
How well do Edinson Cavani and Neymar understand each other now? 72 seconds had to pass in Paris St. Germains Champions League home game against Naples only to clarify the current relationship status. After Kylian Mbappé’s presentation, both PSG attackers wanted to finish, which led to Cavani killing Neymar from behind and forcing him to take a minute off from treatment.
Cavani kicks Neymar in the face – that’s the headline that would have been missing on this damned Wednesday evening, which was already enough of a reason for gloating: PSG are now facing the earliest Champions League exit after half of the preliminary round since the money came from Qatar. Liverpool (6 points) and Naples (5) lead Group C ahead of France (4). “I knew that this group would be super-complicated,” coach Thomas Tuchel defended the alarming interim result: “Even if everyone wants to believe it, we are not the favourites. Besides, it’s only “half time”.
Only Tuchel’s team is not lagging behind by chance after the first run. As already in Liverpool (2:3) it showed weaknesses in the 2:2 (0:1) against Naples, which are unworthy of a title contender, even a participant in the Champions League: While Naples, as against Liverpool (1-0), compensated for individual disadvantages with Carlo Ancelotti’s clever mix of four and three, PSG at the beginning seemed like a collection of single players who whistled at the big picture when they weren’t exactly grabbing each other. “The newspaper “Ouest France” found it “partly embarrassing”.
Meunier admits that he “did not really follow the instructions”.
“At this top level we must not lose our structure, not give away simple balls”, Tuchel’s alarming analysis said. “We need to improve both structurally and mentally. Without compactness there is no intensity.” His players would find it “difficult to respect the match plan for an entire half”, they would have to understand how important it is to hold the positions. “We didn’t play together in the first half hour.” Thomas Meunier even admitted that the team “didn’t really follow the instructions”.
With a corresponding speech and the change to a chain of three – Thilo Kehrer replaced Juan Bernat – Tuchel gave her much more momentum in the second run; Angel di Maria saved the draw in injury time with a brilliant scoop, Meunier reported from a completely different body language. But is that really all Qatar expects?
The talk will begin again: Is it because of Ligue 1?
Tuchel also knows, of course, that his predecessors were all fired because they never made it past the eighth or quarter-finals in Europe – and he should finally change that; that the ten-win-out-ten-game start in Ligue 1 is in no doubt of interest if the 2019 Europa League should continue; and that the talk will begin again: Is the domestic league simply too weak to equip itself with what the Champions League requires? “Ligue 1 is not our problem,” substitute captain Marquinhos says. “We are our problem ourselves.
But there’s one fact that you can’t discuss away: It’s easier to respect a match plan like that if you’re dependent on it in everyday life as well.