Paris Saint-Germain’s return to Ligue 1 after the international break hasn’t gone as desired after succumbing to a 3-2 defeat against OGC Nice, Reelradio.com.ng reports.
Despite Kylian Mbappe’s impressive double, a lack of collective effort let the capital giants down.
Above all, Les Parisiens had no answers to Nice’s star attacking duo of Terem Moffi & Gaetan Laborde, who wreaked havoc on the home side’s defence.
Moffi rose to the occasion with a stellar brace, while Laborde also scored himself one and set one of the former’s strikes.
The defeat will send PSG into introspection about what went wrong and what needs to be improved ahead of their tough Champions League group stage campaign – they are pitted against Borussia Dortmund, AC Milan and Newcastle United in a possible Group of Death.
Here are the key observations from their defeat to Nice.
Ousmane Dembele getting under the skin, Goncalo Ramos also lacking confidence
PSG believed they were getting a top-class player as good as Lionel Messi and Neymar when they splurged the cash for Ousmane Dembele, who also didn’t hesitate a bit to complete his switch from Barcelona.
However, Les Parisiens have been taught a lesson that Dembele is not as good a differential talent as the South America duo and his compatriot Kylian Mbappe if his poor run of form is anything to go by.
For all his ambidexterity, relentless pace and dribbling skills, the lack of end product has long been considered his Achilles heel.
The fans at the Parc des Princes also witnessed it first-hand when he squandered two great as well as easy opportunities in the first half against Nice.
Dembele has failed to register a goal or an assist so far alongside Goncalo Ramos, which is an alarming situation as PSG have broken the banks for their signatures in the summer.
Ramos’ adaptation to Ligue 1 hasn’t gone well, and the Portuguese striker looks far from his former self at Benfica, with the confidence running too low.
Both the players need to up their ante soon as their presence is really vital to PSG
Kylian Mbappe, the lone warrior
Kylian Mbappe has been the crisis man for PSG time and again, and last night was no different, as he nearly dragged his side single-handedly to the finish line.
The French talisman scored a stunning equaliser in the first half and also netted a brilliant volley at the death to revive the hopes of PSG fans about a possible turnaround.
However, his standalone effort went in vain as he lacked the support from his teammates.
Mbappe has already netted seven goals in four games regardless of PSG’s overall struggles, and it also shows the gulf in quality between him and the rest of the squad.
The 24-year-old is likely to continue delivering the goods, but other key players also need to step up if PSG aspires to be a dominant force.
Marco Verratti’s departure will be a regret in hindsight
With each passing game, PSG are learning how big a void Marco Verratti has left with his departure to Qatari club Al Arabi.
From day one, it became clear that PSG gaffer Luis Enrique was not counting on the Italian international, resulting in his expulsion from the team’s Champions League squad.
Enrique also tried to mitigate it by placing his bet on young talents in the midfield, but the harsh reality is they are all not Verratti.
Against Nice, it was further manifested when Vitinha lost the ball in the defensive third, leading to a goal for Les Aiglons.
Although there is no doubt about the potential of the likes of Manuel Ugarte, Carlos Soler and Warren Zaire-Emery, Enrique should have stuck with Verratti, a tailor-made player for his style of play.
Pressure mounting on Enrique
After a quiet start to his managerial stint at Parc des Princes, Enrique appeared to have gained the momentum with back-to-back emphatic victories against Lens and Lyons.
However, the Spanish gaffer has been forced to the drawing board again with the latest setback against Nice.
It looks obvious that Enrique is struggling to instil his philosophy in the squad, and so are players in buying into his ideas.
However, the former Barcelona gaffer needs to turn things around quickly, with PSG up against Borussia Dortmund and Marseille in the upcoming week.
Given that the Ligue 1 Champions have drawn in the group of death in the Champions League, it wouldn’t be a stretch to say that Enrique’s future depends on the outcome of the group stage games.