PSG not only lost their second match in a row at home but failed to show any signs of a fight during their 1-0 defeat to Lyon. The capital city club has been toothless in moving the ball forward and many have begun to call out Lionel Messi for his lack of effort off the ball. After 26 lost possessions and virtually no defense played, there were questions to ask of the 7-time Ballon d’Or winner.
Head coach Christophe Galtier spoke about the criticism of Messi stating, “I find them hard. We are waiting for Leo and Kylian (Mbappé) to unblock the situation. Leo is our facilitator, so he tries a lot so automatically has a lot of waste. But around Leo, you need to overstep the function of the players. We can’t expect everything from Leo and Kylian. Leo tried and succeeded in some things, mismatches or otherwise. But he also missed technical relationships with his partners. There was still a lot of density. These whistles are hard in my opinion because he gave a lot in the first part of the season. He was a passer and scorer in 2023. It is also up to others to do more to bring more danger.”
The PSG manager seems to be all-in on Messi starting regardless of his recent form. Continuing to say, “I do not share your opinion, but I let you ask your question. When you’re in a difficult period, Leo is a decisive player capable of delivering the right ball or scoring with a stroke of genius. In 2023? He scored and was decisive as well. I never thought of depriving myself of him. Perhaps the offensive animation should be reviewed in order to bring more presence into the opposing area.”
Messi has clearly not been the same player for his club since returning from the World Cup, but as his coach stated, the level has dropped across the board. That is something others have noticed. The coach under fire was asked if he agreed with Danilo Pereira’s comments about the commitment and effort that has been given by his teammates. The Marseille-born manager stated, “During certain periods of the match, yes. We got off to a good start for 20 minutes with two good situations, but then we suffered on the transitions during the second part of the first period when we had been precise on that. It created doubts amongst the players and hope for Lyon. I saw that we quickly resigned ourselves. We have lost our ability to quickly restart matches. That was not the case tonight. We lacked character, personality, and perhaps pride. We have a public that supports us at all matches until the end and that we disappoint. There is of course disappointment but there can also be cold anger because of a resignation that came too quickly in this match despite the time to come back.”
Galtier said he did not blame his players and spoke about their success in the first part of the season, but specifically called for his team to have more character and personality in order to get back to how they started the season, winning.
GFFN | Tony DesRois