Christophe Galtier has told Paris Saint-Germain’s superstars that a team that defends together can win big together.
New head coach Galtier believes team spirit is contagious and that togetherness is key to getting the best out of Kylian Mbappe, Neymar and Lionel Messi this season.
The man now at the helm at the Parc des Princes watched the PSG trio from afar last term while in charge of Nice. At times they sizzled as a combination when they were widely expected to take French and European football by storm.
Rarely have such a star trio belonged to the same club at the same time and they will be expected to improve on last season as PSG once again go after their holy grail: Champions League glory.
Last season in Ligue 1, Mbappe scored 28 goals in 35 games, but Neymar once again missed chunks of the campaign, finishing with 13 goals in 22 games in the competition, while former Barcelona captain Messi hit the net just six times. 26 league appearances despite having an expected goals (xG) of 11.4.
Mbappe was absent due to suspension in last weekend’s 4-0 Trophee des Champions defeat at Nantes. Messi opened the scoring, Neymar added a double and Sergio Ramos completed the promotion as Galtier, who replaced the sacked Mauricio Pochettino in July, grabbed early silverware.
When the Parisians travel to Clermont for their league opener on Saturday, Mbappe will be available again, meaning the front three will most likely be reunited.
“It’s a pleasure to have Kylian Mbappe back for the first league game,” Galtier said. “He took part in our pre-season training.
Galtier was asked directly what the key would be to getting the best out of the front three, but the coach took a tangential route to offer his view, hinting that he might expect extra effort from Mbappe, Messi and Neymar. comes to contribute all over the field.
“When it comes to defensive formations, we have a collective desire and responsibility. Even as individuals. There can be periods in games when it’s very tight and the team has not yet gotten past the opponent to score or find gaps,” Galtier said.
“We want to focus a lot on not letting the opponent affect our style of play. We have priority as a team and as individuals.
“When you have teammates who put in a lot of effort, it’s obviously contagious and it means the players around them want to put in the same effort. So we have to make sure that happens.”
“There can be times in games when it doesn’t go so well. The midfield and the defense may have to accept that there may be periods of the game where, for whatever reason, those forwards may struggle to get back, go to the full-backs as well.
“We have to accept that we all have to defend together, but sometimes the players who could be involved in the first phase of the recovery with our pressing game may not be in the right position. So we have to do everything we can to create time .” to get them back into the right position in our defensive block.’
Galtier said he and PSG will benefit from the experience of former Real Madrid captain Ramos, who spent most of his first season with the club on the sidelines due to injuries.
“It’s always good to have players like him and they can bring their experience,” Galtier said. “Professionalism. That’s what they bring to their teammates, and for me, they also have experience that I don’t have, so I can learn from that and they can also have answers to questions that I ask.”
In Clermont’s debut Ligue 1 season last term, they were beaten 4-0 and 6-1 by PSG en route to a 17th-placed finish, just avoiding the drop.
PSG have won each of their last seven opening games in Ligue 1, a sequence previously only surpassed by Marseille (10) and Bordeaux (9).
This will be PSG’s 50th season in Ligue 1 and gives them the opportunity to claim an 11th league title, which would move them ahead of Saint-Etienne to become the clear most successful team in the competition’s history. Anything less would be considered a failure.