At the end of the line, the disappointment is palpable. Tinted with some form of anger itself. Winner of the Coupe des Coupes in 1996 with PSG, the only continental trophy of the Parisian club, Laurent Fournier will still have to wait to see other Parisians lift a European Cup.
“I would have really preferred that they win so that we make a match between the two generations…”, blows the former French international after the defeat this Sunday evening vis-a-vis Bayern Munich. Emblematic player of PSG from 1991 to 1994, then from 1995 to 1998, before returning as a coach, Fournier has the club in his skin and especially regrets the lack of aggressiveness of the Parisians.
What is your feeling after this defeat?
LAURENT FOURNIER. We played little arms. I have the impression that we did not do what was necessary to get this victory, that we lacked ambition. The more the match progressed, the more we retreated. Unlike Bayern, we lacked impact in terms of recovery. There were good situations against but Mbappé, Neymar or Di Maria never managed to make a difference. It is true that in front, Neuer was exceptional but we did not attack them enough.
How do you explain it?
It makes me think of some finals that I played where we were too respectful. In Bari, with Marseille (Editor’s note: in the final of the Champions League lost to the Red Star of Belgrade), we were superior individually but that was not enough. You think it will end up smiling at you naturally but the goal never comes.
Do you feel disappointed?
Yes, because I really believed in it. I was really confident before the game. The performances in the quarter and semi-finals were promising… but in the end, it was only Atalanta Bergamo and Leipzig. Against Bayern, adversity is different. Maybe we weren’t ready. We weren’t used to facing a more aggressive and more playful team. PSG did not hurt themselves enough.
Where did the PSG sin?
I thought Paredes and Herrera were going to bring more to the middle, than they could allow to launch Neymar and Mbappé. I was wrong, it was an illusion. They didn’t get the ball high enough to be aggressive. No doubt Verratti would have contributed more with his creativity. His absence was terrible. The physical impact is significant in midfield and we were dominated. We lost the middle battle.
What do you think of the services of Neymar or Mbappé?
We inevitably expect more players like these two or even Di Maria. I expected a very high level game from them. It was the moment, the perfect match for them. But I had the impression that they lacked freshness. Of the match, Neymar was the most disappointing. He was not the same as against Bergamo or Leipzig, not so smiling. It showed on his face. After his free kick against Leipzig, he was laughing. Against Munich, this was not the case. From the start he seemed tense. It’s normal to be tense when you play a final, I experienced that, but it’s amazing from him. Maybe he put too much pressure on himself. Maybe we put too much on him.
VIDEO. PSG defeat: “Something was missing between Neymar and Mbappé”