With a clean core and Luis Enrique as the engineer, the Qatari owners of Paris Saint-Germain were hoping to finally achieve their dream this year: winning the Champions League. But the first real test for the proud Parisians was a disappointment: a 4-1 defeat to Newcastle. The French press was harsh.
Overwhelmed by everything
The sports newspaper opens, “Most observers considered this match in Newcastle to be the first real test for Luis Enrique of Paris Saint-Germain. They were not wrong. The referee: Failure.” L’Equipe.
“The capital club were shipwrecked on the banks of the Tyne, beaten in every respect by superior opposition who were robbed of a 4-1 win in the rain at St James’ Park.”
“What can I say about coach Luis Enrique? He believes in beautiful football, but he witnessed a terrible display from his players, who did not have a single shot on target before the end of the first half and sometimes could not connect two passes.”
“Brice le Bouillon”
He wrote, “Luis Enrique made a bold decision to field four strikers against Newcastle. It was a losing gamble.” Le Figaro.
“After trailing 2-0 after an ill-fated first half, Paris Saint-Germain lost eminently 4-1 at St James’ Park, a stadium that has not hosted a Champions League match in 20 years.”
“Enrique was able to reposition his team, but his attackers would not give up. However, the biggest problem lay elsewhere: Newcastle were three levels above them in terms of aggression.”
He added: “It is a defeat that, although it does not change everything, it makes the picture more difficult and forces us to look at the beginning of the season in a different light.” Le Parisien.
“It was one of those nights when nothing worked: Luis Enrique’s choices, the team’s commitment and influence and the failure of the key players (Marquinhos and Kylian Mbappé).”
“It shows the enormous difficulties that Paris Saint-Germain faces in reinventing itself, without top stars (Neymar and Messi depart in the summer, editor) and with a game characterized by possession.”
“The biggest problem PSG has: Mbappe is unrecognizable. Perhaps it is due to his lack of availability in pre-season and perhaps more importantly the lack of creativity around him.”
“Uninspiring Paris Saint-Germain sinks Newcastle,” read the headline of the high-quality newspaper Le Monde.
“The Parisians were never able to contain the attacking English fleet, which was strongly supported by 52,000 enthusiastic spectators, and were sidelined.”
“Apart from Zaire Emery’s goal, PSG, like Kylian Mbappe – who was not visible throughout the match – were never able to cause Newcastle goalkeeper Nick Pope any problems.
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