Christophe Galtier on leadership at PSG: “Lionel Messi was a natural leader.”

Christophe Galtier may have his team in first place in Ligue 1, but part of the job description of coaching the capital city club is dealing with the constant feeling of impending doom whenever trouble arises. Now missing Neymar and Kylian Mbappé, the French coach spoke about their chemistry together and how he intends to keep his team rolling without the other pieces of his attacking triad for the next few weeks.

“There are a lot of connections between the three. Between Mbappé and Neymar, Messi and Neymar… But I have to organize the team around Leo given the absences, as we did in Montpellier. Leo is going to be in his zone… Afterward, it is up to the players who will replace them to raise their level of play, to be very available, and to seize opportunities.”

The former Saint-Étienne coach has deployed several different systems while in charge of PSG. He was asked whether these changes were more for tactical reasons or due to difficulties with finding the right formation with the group.

The coach explained, “No, to be very specific in my answer, it didn’t take that long. At the start of the season, I clearly saw how I wanted to see the team evolve with the full squad. But we were readable and there are certain points where I was not satisfied.”

The topic on everyone’s mind prior to the press conference was Mbappé’s injury. The coach addressed concerns over whether too much time on the pitch led to that injury.

He will be absent, according to the medical staff’s expertise, for about three weeks. For your question, we are in a unique season with a World Cup in the middle. I see in the other clubs that there is fatigue and injuries. They are part of the job. We are unhappy for Kylian, he wants to be present. But you can’t spend a season without a physical problem, even more so for the internationals who are always in demand.”

Galtier made it clear that he believes his team is not lacking ambition or structure. Rather, the team is a mixture of different types of players who fill their roles to make a cohesive collective. The coach explained, “If you think that I am giving up, not at all. And if you think the players aren’t trying hard, not at all. I have the creators. We have Leo who took the game in hand without Kylian and Sergio. He was a natural leader and the players put themselves at the service of Leo. It is in this sense that I congratulated everyone for having done the work that had to be done.

Ligue 1 is a close race up to this point. OM and Lens are within touching distance of PSG. However, the league champions are still in the driver’s seat and even with injuries the capital city club is positioned well to compete with Bayern in the Champions League. As the head coach of one of the biggest clubs in the world, Galtier can only do what he has always done – win.

GFFN | Tony DesRois

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