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PSG must be more ruthless
For Paris Saint-Germain, it’s all about transition at the moment. After a long wait for European silverware, the capital club are once more seeking not only domestic dominance but they crave superiority in arguably the world’s most prestigious football tournament, the Champions League.
But with this ambition, however realistic, comes solidity. If you want to become a recognisable, bold force in this competition – and indeed as a footballing unit – then consistency is key. Every player, of whatever status within the squad, must be performing at the top of their game.
However, two rounds into this season’s Champions League and already Carlo Ancelotti’s team are showing signs of inconsistency. Having began their campaign in emphatic fashion, thumping Ukrainian giants Dynamo Kyiv 4-1, things were looking good. Very good.
They were cohesive, played as a team, worked together and made it hard for Dynamo to break them down. And most importantly: when a goalscoring opportunity presented itself they took it. Consequently, it rained goals in Paris.
But as we are all well aware, this is the Champions League. Anything can happen. And next up were an equally as tough and respectable opponent in Portugal’s FC Porto. Like Dynamo, slightly vulnerable in defence but are relentless in attack. No-one was doubting the magnitude of this match.
Being the away side, PSG were expected – like most teams often do - to sit back, remain compact and then break quickly on the counter-attack. And to a certain degree, they did. But, two golden chances were manufactured in the first half and this is where the team needed to be ruthless in front of goal.
The club’s star striker, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, is so frequently found smashing in goals left, right and centre. You would bet him to score whether it be a one-on-one, header from a cross or a 30-yard piledriver. But, on Wednesday night, it just wasn’t to be.
Nene, the speedy Brazilian midfielder, whipped in a delicious cross in which Ibrahimovic connected with. The travelling PSG contingent were already off their seats but the outcome was not what we were all expecting. The Swede had missed what was a fantastic chance to go in front.
Then a few moments later, he was at it again. Jeremy Menez picked him out, unmarked in the penalty area in plenty of space, but he snatched at the chance and could only force the corner kick. Indeed, there was an element of perplexity. The visitors should have been 2-0 up.
These are the margins in Champions League football. You must take your chances. The PSG squad has talent in abundance, match winners all over the park, able offensive players who can spearhead attacks. Imposing yourself on the game is one thing, having the capabilities to capitalize on that is another.
If Paris Saint-Germain want to progress in this competition, then they must set the tone for their own fortunes. This inconsistency in front of goal must be washed out. Until it is, Ancelotti’s troops will be left pondering what could have been.