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PSG’s crop of mercenaries have left the club characterless

There has been a mixed reaction to Kylian Mbappé’s comments about PSG lacking personality after the loss to Lille. On the one hand, this type of free speaking is a manager’s worst nightmare but on the other, a brutally honest assessment of a team’s failure is often music to the ears of the fans, as it provides the faithful with a reassurance that their players can also see problems within a team’s setup.

Thomas Tuchel wasted no time in rebuking the 20-year-old by saying that “it is too easy for Mbappe to say we lacked personality”. What the PSG boss is trying to convey by pouring cold water on Mbappe’s remarks is that there was a very valid reason for their capitulation, given all the mitigating circumstances of players being unfit, a red card, as well as goals being ruled out for offside. To some extent, Marco Verratti backed up his manager’s comments by saying that this type of result can happen in a season and of course, the Italian is completely right, but that doesn’t mean the PSG players aren’t currently transforming the club into a characterless one.

Phenomenal domestic dominance has given PSG a soft underbelly PSG have won five of the last six league titles with the exception being when Monaco miraculously became Ligue 1 Champions during the 2016/2017 season. Over the years, the winning margins that PSG have established by the end of the season make for bewildering reading. During the 2017/2018 season, the Paris giants won by 13 points which was by all accounts quite a close run thing when you consider the nearest team to them in second place at the end of their title-winning 2015/16 season were 31 points adrift.

As it stands now, they lead Ligue 1 Conforama by 17 points after scoring a whopping 92 goals and really, it is just a matter of when and not if before they win their sixth French title in seven years. The squad that the PSG owners have put together is by far and away the most talented one in the division and it feels like the Parc des Princes outfit don’t ever have to get into more than second gear as they trounce the opposition year after year.

In fact, the side that PSG have are far too good for anything that Ligue 1 opposition throw at them which begs the question, in this day and age when playing at the top level is what the majority of players want, what are they all doing in Paris? That’s not to say for a second that PSG aren’t one of the greatest clubs in world football because they certainly are, and it is undoubtedly an honour to pull on the famous white, red and blue. Rather, what are the underlying motivations of the players who make up the PSG team? Big salaries but little in the way of character It doesn’t need to be pointed out as we all know the lure of Qatari money is what brings the games’ biggest names to abandon playing in the world’s most competitive leagues to take up residence in Ligue 1.

PSG are one of only two state-owned teams in world football with the other being Manchester City, needless to say, they will rival anyone on the planet when it comes to spending. And spend they have to ensure dominance in France but more importantly dominance in Europe too. The former has been achieved whilst the latter now seems impossible despite throwing obscene amounts of money at solving the problem. Since PSG were bought by Qatar Sports Investment they haven’t managed to get past the quarter-final stage of the competition and seem to be regressing after being knocked out in the round of 16 by Manchester United this season.

Is it any surprise that they don’t have the bottle to go all the way when they’re never tested in this type of pressurized environment on a regular basis? Look at all of the other leagues in Europe and in particular the bigger two of La Liga Santander and the Premier League, there are no easy games at the top or bottom of the table and teams seldomly run away with the title to extent that PSG do. The Premier League is a particularly good example of that seeing as of the 18th of April, 2019, Betway have Man City at 8/11 to be crowned champions and Liverpool just behind at 10/11.

Which is crazy when you think that there are only four games left and there is no separating the two but then again, that’s the nature of a league where nothing is guaranteed. The teams in these leagues are put through the mill for three points which cultivates their individual characters on a weekly basis. PSG have fallen victim to their own predictable success This is what makes Mbappe’s reaction following the mauling from Lille very interesting when you consider that teams are allowed an off day and that PSG had gone unbeaten in the five games leading up to the thrashing by Lille.

That doesn’t seem to be the form of a team without any character which suggests the 20-year-old knows this team is unlikely to develop without being given a constant and adequate challenge. In no way was Mbappe’s frustration about this single loss but rather the bigger picture, that PSG are going nowhere slowly without the ability to grow as a group in Ligue 1.

 

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