It was a disappointed but also surprised Christophe Galtier with his team’s overall failed game that he presented to the press after the defeat at Lens. The PSG coach listed everything that went wrong, and the list was long, before commenting on some individual cases such as those of Mbappé or Messi. He also recalled that the championship still had a long way to go.
Is Lens’ victory (3-1) logical and deserved for the whole game?
“(Very clearly) Yes. During the whole match, of course, Lens deserved the win. It’s not so much the defeat that disappoints or annoys me as the way we conceded goals. However, we knew their strengths. We knew Lens was very strong in transition once in the low block. Especially on the first or second goal the positions were not respected. We couldn’t come back and were behind at half-time.
“It’s the first time I’ve seen my team so disorganised”
Let’s take this third goal quickly which is always very important. It is essential to start the second half well. Again, it’s on a strong point of Lensois. They are very strong in reacting to loss. We play short and lose the ball in a very dangerous area. Lens has already scored goals in the same register. There may have been some discomfort because we gave him two goals. Behind that, we completely cut ourselves in two, disorganized. It’s the first time I’ve seen my team so disorganized. We felt really on edge as the game went on. And when there is too much technical waste there is a loss of balls which gives the advantage to the counter-attacks. »
Was the liquefaction you mentioned in the second half due to a physical problem?
” No. After Lens he obviously imposes a rhythm and a physical impact in addition to his technical and organizational qualities. We had to play the opposite of what we did. Let the circuits accelerate, let the ball go faster and behind the behind Lensois’ hoops. Unfortunately the players tried but there was too much technical waste. There were too many ball losses which give the advantage to the counter-attacks. We are totally unbalanced on our side on these sequences. »
Do you have an explanation about the level of your players tonight?
It’s like this. You’re caught in a match with a lot of intensity and impact. We should have been very, very honest technically, but we weren’t. Since we’re not technically right, a lot of space is created. The defenders ran a lot towards our goal. Technical mistakes made us miss the second or third pass that would have allowed us to get the ball out. It’s also related to the quality of the Lensoise team. It’s the first time I’ve seen so much technical waste this season. »
Can this first defeat lower the pressure around the group or is it instead a big disappointment?
“Obviously it wasn’t the overriding goal to go unbeaten all season. There was no particular pressure to stumble one day. It happened tonight and the opponent deserves it. We didn’t have a good time. It has never been a goal defined by anyone, neither by me, nor by the management nor by the players. It’s not so much the defeat that hurts but the fact that the team didn’t talk. »
What do you think of Kylian Mbappé’s performance? Does this defeat indicate a level difference for PSG in the absence of Neymar and Lionel Messi?
“Kylian struggled a lot, even at 3-1 he showed an excellent state of mind”
“Kylian made a lot of effort, even at 3-1 he showed a great state of mind. Unfortunately he wasn’t able to make the difference because he defended well up front. They clustered well in front of the surface so there were fewer and fewer spaces. When faced with low walls and an opponent who has the advantage in scoring, you need to have a lot of talent and technical precision. Our two players, Leo and Ney, weren’t there but there’s no excuse we lost because there were absentees. No. We will face a second part of the season with many games. There will be absences, injuries, malformations and suspensions. You have to know how to be truly better, even in the absence of important players. »
Lens is very little heralded as a candidate for the title. Can your dolphin, who is back within four points, aim for the crown in your opinion?
“This Sunday morning there was some excitement in the media for Lens beating us to rekindle the suspense of the championship. I would have had the same answer if we had won or drawn: the championship is still long. On matchday 17 we can’t think that even if we had won the championship it would have been folded. It is still very long and with a very busy schedule. There are too many games left. The Lensois are back to 4 points. It’s like this. This is a fact. »
Does this team remind you of Lille when you were champions in front of PSG (in May 2021)?
“Not at all in the way the team expresses itself. They are two completely different game models. On the other hand, it is a team that exudes a lot of strength, cohesion and enthusiasm. »
Is depth management the priority area for next week?
“We have been caught in depth but it is not particularly related to my defenders. In taking the ball, in the reaction to the defeat, we weren’t good. We have lost many duels and above all too many balls. This unusual technical waste forced our defenders to multiply their runs towards our goal. »
Will Achraf Hakimi and Kylian Mbappé train next week?
“We talked about it before the end of the World Cup. It was important that they were there for the two league games (Strasbourg and Lens) before having a few days off. From this evening they will be able to take a few days off (Galtier repeats a few days despite a journalist’s request for clarification). »
How will you welcome Messi when he returns to France in the next few hours?
“Obviously Messi will be very well received”
“We will be very happy to welcome him to our home, to the training centre. Leo should join us on January 3, which is in 48 hours. Naturally he will be very well received. Afterwards, as regards the welcome at the stadium, I have no doubts that he will also be very well received at the Parco dei Principi. He won a trophy by performing very well throughout the World Cup. Now that he has reached this incredible milestone, we must above all remember what he has been doing since the beginning of the season with the team. For us he is a decisive player. So I have no doubt that he will be well received. »