Though the odds seemed to be against PSG in Wednesday night’s encounter as they were without their star players (Kylian Mbappe, Edison Cavani – both injured – and Neymar, who was suspended), they produced a collective performance that will sting Madrid for a long time.
“We need to always play like we did, with character and personality. With aggressiveness, too,” said Thiago Silva, PSG captain.
Midfielders Marco Verratti, Marquinhos and Idrissa Gueye went box to box and proved to have stamina for their positions while working hard to provide Angel Di Maria with spectacular passes which eventually saw him scoring a brace for the French side.
Idrissa Gueye is proving his worth after joining from Everton FC during the close season, with the coaches monitoring him and making his presence felt at his new home.
“He’s a machine. He’s the type of player we were missing, he never stops running,” said Tuchel.
With the ‘MCN’ trio out, Argentine striker Mauro Icardi, loaned from Inter Milan, harassed the Real Madrid defense and created space for Di Maria while keeper Keylor Navas, who joined from Real, is expected to give the defense some peace of mind.
“Mbappe, Cavani and Neymar are phenomenons, but we have a solid squad of 25 players. Two of them were injured and one was suspended but what the other showed was brilliant.” proudly said Tuchel.
PSG are well aware that winning group stages will mean nothing when the knockout phase comes in the winter and fail to advance to the next round.
In 2017, they beat Bayern 3-0 in the Group phase and tamed Liverpool 2-1 also in the Group phase last year, but those victories were followed by early exits.