Finally, the long and tough football season has come to an end with Bayern Munich having the last laugh. The German Giants had been the worthy winners at Lisbon and very would argue with that. They celebrated the treble hard and while they celebrated with their charismatic manager, Hansi Flick, at the other end, Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) and their staff were left thinking about the missed opportunities and the lack of ability to react aggressively and intelligently when the situation demanded.
Last night, from the Parc des Princes to Lisbon and all over the world, the same passion united us. ❤️?
— Paris Saint-Germain (@PSG_English) August 24, 2020
The French champions were left to pay the price for failing to convert the opportunities that came their way – Neymar was notably denied by a fine Manuel Neuer save early on, but Kylian Mbappe really should have done better than shoot straight at the goalkeeper just before half-time. Then Marquinhos and Choupo Mouting missed the opportunities to equalize.
One could say, luck was not in favour of PSG on that night, but one can point a finger towards the inability of the manager to respond in the decisive moments.
Neymar fez o mais difícil para o Choupo moting errar o mais fácil… pic.twitter.com/oBvHpfz9LV
— Gênio Neymar Jr² (fan account) (@genioneymarjr10) August 24, 2020
After being 1-0 down, Thomas Tuchel should have brought on Mauro Icardi instead of Choupo Mouting. Tuchel also did not bring on Pablo Sarabia – who is PSG’s top goalscorer this season – with these decisions showing a lack of ability to react quickly in the decisive moments.
But, nevertheless, PSG have impressed everyone this season – rather than choking in the knockouts, they broke the jinx of featuring in the finals in Europe’s most prestigious competitions. It was PSG’s first finals in the Champions League and they lacked the experience and depth of how to plan and respond accordingly on such a big moment.
Neymar in tears. He worked really hard to claim the accolade by winning the Champions League. But he has been brilliant this season and took PSG a long way. This is just the beginning and without pain nothing is gained. Let's move on boy. The best is yet to come. ?? pic.twitter.com/krZGXi4nW5
— Faisal Caesar (@faisalyorker1) August 23, 2020
PSG have the cash and they spent heavily on buying big stars, but what they did not do and which is, buy the right players in the right positions – teams like Bayern Munich, Real Madrid and Liverpool spend money as well, but they plan not only to rule the roost in domestic arena, but the world and that is where PSG need to improve in the coming days.
Football is a team game and the aliens don’t play on earth. Here, each and everyone is interlinked with another and support each other. Individual charisma matters, but it cannot deliver every day because the opposition would plan accordingly to shut him down.
In the finals of the UEFA Champions League between Barcelona and Arsenal in 2005-06, Ronaldinho was not playing well, but still, he could pull things off because Barca had invested smartly – they had a creative midfield and solid backline, which stepped up when they witnessed, Arsene Wenger had planned well to disturb the rhythm of Ronaldinho.
The Catalans were 1-0 down, in required momentum and Frank Rijkaard brought on Henrik Larsson and adjusted the defence by substituting Oleguer, who was replaced by right-back Juliano Belletti.
Despite losing the UCL final yesterday, Neymar was nice enough to take some pictures with a few Bayern players. ?? pic.twitter.com/NPRDFDRBR4
— Brasil Football ?? (@BrasilEdition) August 24, 2020
Next, Iniesta sent a pass through the inside-left channel to Larsson whose one-touch, right-footed lay-off quickly released Eto’o to equalize for Barcelona. Four minutes later, Larsson was again the provider, playing a one-two with Belletti in the inside-right channel, before the Brazilian full-back shot right-footed through Almunia’s legs to score at the near post.
It was not Ronaldinho but the fair investments, which helped to strengthen the bench and the response in decisive moments by Rijkaard saved the night for Barcelona.
It was their first Champions League title since 1992.
What PSG should do in the next season is the plan to become the best in the world rather than enjoying the jolly-bash in Ligue 1.
Firstly, they need to think beyond Tuchel and bring a dynamic manager who would galvanize the whole unit. Someone like Mauricio Pochettino would be ideal to carry on the momentum gained in this season and take it to the next level. Pochettino is a risk-taker and bears a sharp footballing brain.
“Would I like to return to Paris one day? Why not? Coaching PSG one day would be fantastic. It’s one of my dreams,” Pochettino said such not so long ago.
Let’s talk about Thomas Tuchel for a second. A great manager and tactician who finally managed to get PSG playing like a unit. Sadly for him, in my opinion, it won’t matter to Qatari ownership. I think he’s done and Mauricio Pochettino will come in.
— Luis Miguel Echegaray (@lmechegaray) August 23, 2020
Secondly, smart distribution of workload – Neymar should remain in his usual central position and the rest should distribute the workload accordingly. And to make this work, smart investments are needed to buy quality defenders, creative and defensive midfielders. For PSG, a double pivot midfield with a 4-2-3-1 midfield would work better.
Thirdly, a better medical and physio unit – Injuries have been a major issue for PSG over the years. Even in this season, it haunted them. They lost the services of Marco Verratti and in the past, Neymar suffered a lot. They need to reorganize their medical and physio unit so that the fitness of the players is fully ensured and the team suffers less.
Finally, the change of mentality – the time has come for PSG to think big and smartly. Enough of spending cash and show-offs. Rather, let the cash be utilized to share the platform with Real Madrid and Bayern Munich. Players like Neymar and Mbappe deserve more.
Losing the final at Lisbon does not mean that it is the end of the world for PSG, but it should work as a motivating factor for them like the 2018 final did for Liverpool – it helped Jurgen Klopp to transform them into world-beaters.
PSG should come stronger in the upcoming season.