PSG captain Marquinhos refuses to blame Messi and Neymar absences for defeat at Lens

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Lionel Messi and Neymar were not involved in PSG’s first loss of the season, but Marquinhos was not blaming their absence for defeat.

Paris Saint-Germain did not lose to Lens simply because Lionel Messi and Neymar were unavailable, according to captain Marquinhos.

The Ligue 1 leaders slipped to their first defeat of the season as goals from Przemyslaw Frankowski, Lois Openda and Alexis Claude-Maurice ensured a 3-1 defeat at the Stade Bollaert-Delelis on Sunday.

Christophe Galtier’s side were missing key personnel, with Messi just back from a World Cup-winning layoff and Neymar banned after a red card against Strasbourg.

However, Marquinhos refused to cite the former Barcelona pair’s lack, instead suggesting that PSG were simply outclassed by the better opposition.

“They are great players who make the difference,” Marquinhos told Amazon Prime Video. “But we already won without them.

“We have to find the cohesion of our team again. I think Lens was more effective, especially in the first half. They won the duels that made the difference.”

“We had opportunities to come back, score, but we weren’t able to be as efficient as they were.”

PSG’s defeat was their first in Ligue 1 since March last year against Monaco and ended a 25-match unbeaten run in the top flight.

It marked a first competitive turn as PSG head coach for Galtier, having replaced Mauricio Pochettino earlier this campaign, and he felt his team were giving an uncharacteristic account of themselves.

“Lens deserves this win,” said Galtier. “I had a hard time getting to know my team. We lacked cohesion, we collapsed as the match progressed.

“We gave up a lot of space, we made a lot of technical mistakes. There were a lot of surprising wastes from my guys. They don’t usually give me that habit.”

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