What PSG need to compete for Champions League glory this term
Paris Saint-Germain have been undisputed top dogs in Ligue 1 during recent years. The capital club have won five of the last six French titles. But success on the continental stage has remained elusive.
In fact, they haven’t made it past the last eight of the Champions League since way back in 1995.
So, what does new boss Thomas Tuchel need to fix if he’s to make them serious UCL contenders?
A mobile but experienced centre-back
While PSG were high-scorers across the competitions last term, they looked less assured at the other end.
There’s no doubt that Presnel Kimpembe has a bright future ahead. But the classy 22-year-old defender looked like a rabbit in the headlights when PSG lost 3-1 at Real Madrid at the Santiago Bernabeu last term.
At the other end of the scale, the ageing Thiago Silva has plenty of pedigree but has regularly been done for pace in recent times. He turns 34-years-old in September, and the club captain’s days as a first-team regular are probably numbered.
If Les Parisiens are to do the business in the UCL this season, they probably need a new regular partner for Marquinhos at CB.
Neymar must back up his ‘new man’ vow
The 26-year-old took pelters from fans and pundits alike during the summer’s World Cup. Despite a few flashes of brilliance, his tournament was marred by petulant behaviour and largely ineffectual displays.
But despite a poor WC and rumours of an exit from Parc des Princes, it seems the Brazilian is staying put.
And he’s making the right noises ahead of the season, telling media: “I took time to accept your criticism. I took the time to look at myself in the mirror and become a new man.”
Whether or not it’s true commitment or empty promises remains to be seen. But if Neymar is to mature and toughen up, PSG will surely have a world-class player equipped to handle the big occasion.
Tuchel must bring a more versatile approach
Perhaps the biggest issue PSG had under Unai Emery was the lack of a Plan B.
They set up in an identical 4-3-3 system for every European game last term.
While the system generally suited the players on Emery’s books, their rigid set-up should have been adapted when it didn’t work. Especially so after the 3-1 first-leg defeat to Los Blancos in the Round of 16.
Knowing when to chop and change from the side’s regular 3-4-2-1 system at Borussia Dortmund was one of Tuchel’s best hallmarks.
And that tactical nous and flexibility could prove vital as PSG challenge for European honours this term.
Ahead of the tournament proper, PSG are 6/1 to lift the trophy. That makes them joint-second favourites, alongside three other sides.
Meanwhile, Tuchel is 1/10 to deliver the Ligue 1 title in his first season.
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