Seven-time defending champion, Paris faces OM in the Champions Trophy this Wednesday (9 p.m.), in Lens.
PSG-OM, a poster that has lost its luster? Perhaps if we refer to the exacerbated rivalry of the 1990s. But the duel that the two teams will engage in this Wednesday (9pm), in Lens, as part of the Champions Trophy, should not lack spice. The last opposition, on September 13 at the Parc des Princes, has undoubtedly rekindled the flame. “It was no longer football”, judge the consultant Canal + Sidney Govou. 17 yellow cards, five reds, Angel Di Maria’s spitting, Alvaro Gonzalez’s alleged racist insults towards Neymar… “This match was out of control at the end, but it was more because of the provocations of the Parisians than of us ”, reframes Andre Villas-Boas, who also warns that Marseille will compete in this 99th Classic“ with humility, but also aggressiveness and intensity ”. Everyone has his point of view.
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In the meantime, OM had left the Parc des Princes with three points (0-1). That is a fact. A first victory against the Parisian rival since 2011! Suddenly, we imagine that the seven-time holder of this Champions Trophy was stung in his pride, even if Keylor Navas ensures that the locker room “does not speak of revenge”. The Ultras have been. “PSG-OM, more than a trophy, dirty them”, they launch. “There have been some things that shouldn’t happen in a football match,” said Navas of the last PSG-OM. We want to try to win by playing football and being better than the opponent. As a pro, you have to know what you’re doing right and wrong. Managing emotions probably fell into the “not good” category. But Mauricio Pochettino believes that it is “very important, and not only for this match. “
“For me, victory is first and foremost a question of pride”
The new Parisian coach will perhaps linger on the case of Neymar, back from injury and who promised Alvaro to make him run wild on the ground, ball at his feet. One thing is certain: Pochettino, in place for a week and a half, will have the opportunity to lift a first trophy in Paris. And even the first in his coaching career! “We obviously know that in case of victory, there will be a trophy at the end. But for me, victory is first and foremost a question of pride, ”evades the former Argentine international, who obviously does not need to be reminded of the importance of a Classic. “It’s a special game with special motivation. The opponent is OM, and we know what that means “, he insists, he who played in Paris between 2001 and 2003 and remembers” perfectly the emotions (which he has known) in these matches ”.
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This PSG-OM is also (and above all?) A first real test for the former Tottenham coach, even if it will still be necessary to wait to see the Pochettino leg. “I do not see too many changes for the moment, it’s still a team based on individualities, squeaks” AVB “, also passed on the bench of Spurs. The only difference is that they are no longer defending in zone on set pieces. We can also cite the use of Marco Verratti higher up on the pitch. In defense of the Argentinian, there were still many absent against Saint-Étienne (1-1) and Brest (3-0), and the physical condition of the able-bodied is far from optimal. “He has to take the temperature,” says Brest coach Olivier Dall’Oglio. This is true for all coaches: you must first observe before actually acting. Be patient ! “
A success to work more serenely
Problem? Patience is a rare commodity on the banks of the Seine. “I do not think he will revolutionize the starting XI, they will be almost the same players as with Thomas Tuchel, notes Govou, who will also be commenting on Lens. Today, the role of coach is more a role of manager. It is therefore really on his ability to play PSG as a team that he will be expected. A success against OM – which has won only one of its last five matches in Ligue 1 – would already be enough for the happiness of Mauricio Pochettino and his team. This would allow us to work more calmly in the coming weeks, pending the knockout stages of the Champions League against FC Barcelona on February 16 and March 10.