Paris Saint-Germain already under pressure. Defeated at home on Friday by Nice, the players of the capital and their new coach Luis Enrique are expected at the turn when launching a delicate group stage [in Group F] of the Champions League against Dortmund, Tuesday, September 19 at the Parc des Princes.
As Friday night when explaining why PSG, which he is shaping, conceded a strange defeat against OGC Nice (2-3), Luis Enrique displayed his serenity Monday in a press conference.
"We didn't start the season extremely well, but every time I arrive [with a team], it's always like that, there is a lot of information, ideas, concepts that players have to assimilate.
"I see it as a process that requires time," even if "it's hard to ask for time, because I know how things work," explained the Spanish technician.
But he cannot ignore that a crisis quickly arrived in Paris, where victory is still awaited. "If the results are bad, I will be fired," Luis Enrique calmly said.
The confrontation against Nice was only a warm-up round before two summits: the start of the C1 group stage against Borussia on Tuesday, and the classico against Marseille on Sunday, still at the Parc.
If it is no longer trumpeted by the leaders, the real objective remains Europe for PSG, which takes almost everything on French soil (9 titles of champion of France since the arrival of the Qatari fund QSI in 2011, in particular).
This is evidenced by the recruitment of Luis Enrique, already winner of the Champions League – with Barcelona in 2015 – unlike all his predecessors when they arrived on the Parisian bench except Carlo Ancelotti (December 2011-June 2013).
But PSG is not entitled to the usual break-in period in the group stage, because it inherited a difficult draw with, in addition to Dortmund, the powerful AC Milan and the new rich Newcastle.
Each match is likely to count towards first place in Group F, which would promise an easier draw in the knockout stages. An elimination from the pools, unthinkable in previous years, is not totally unthinkable this year.
Mbappé fit, Dembélé mute
A victory is all the more recommended on Tuesday night as Dortmund seems the most likely of the three opponents at the beginning of the season. If Borussia has not yet lost in the Bundesliga and comes out of a victory Saturday in Freiburg (2-4), the vice-champions of Germany seem much less inspired than last season. They have gleaned only 8 points in four games (7th) against teams promised in the middle and bottom of the table.
PSG have the weapons to hurt a rather slow central defense held by Mats Hummels and Nico Schlotterbeck. The supersonic Kylian Mbappé already compiles goals in Ligue 1 this season (7 in 4 matches). His right-wing sidekick Ousmane Dembélé also has the speed to make his former team dizzy.
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Problem, the defector of FC Barcelona has for the moment remained silent, even harvesting several clear opportunities against Nice. In addition, the number 9 Gonçalo Ramos, arrived from Benfica Lisbon, struggles to touch balls. And Asensio, author of two goals in his last two games, is injured.
France international Randal Kolo Muani showed promise in his first game since arriving from Frankfurt, delivering an assist to the team's star on Friday night.
Another concern for the Spanish coach: the defense, which will not be able to afford as Friday to take three goals. The Danilo-Skriniar pair was overtaken in depth. But against Dortmund, Luis Enrique should be able to count on his captain Marquinhos, left to rest.
The midfielder should also show another face with the return as holder of Manuel Ugarte, already indispensable.
Hailed for his dynamic and offensive game project, Luis Enrique, who remains on a failure as coach of Spain (elimination in the knockout stages at the 2022 World Cup), knows that his PSG will be judged, very quickly, in the light of the results.
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