Will Sergio Ramos finally rise to the bar to raise the level of PSG’s defense? « We will make a decision tomorrow (Saturday): today we have not decided, » replied Mauricio Pochettino, the Argentinian coach.
« He is training well, he has done three training sessions with the group this week, we are happy with his progress », adds « Poche ». Injured in a knee, then affected in the calf, the ex-captain of Real Madrid has not yet played a single minute since his arrival in Paris this summer.
But his state of mind remains irreproachable, assures his trainer. « It is clear that for a player like Sergio Ramos, a world champion, with his level and his track record, it is difficult to accept not being able to play, » admits Pochettino. « But he has great strength, he works very hard, we think the evolution is good, you have to be patient, he shows it. And it supports workloads well, that’s a good sign, ”notes the Argentinian.
The return of a boss like Ramos would do good to a defense that has conceded 13 goals in 13 Ligue 1 matches, and 5 in four C1 matches, a bit too much for a title contender.
No accounting worries, however: PSG have lost only once this season, in Rennes (2-0), dominate L1 head and shoulders and remain well placed to qualify for the 8e of the C1 final, even if he lost the head of the group to Manchester City, which he visited on Wednesday.
But Paris too often lets its opponents approach Gianluigi Donnarumma or Keylor Navas. On Saturday, the Costa Rican will keep the goals, the Italian suffering from gastro. If the defense remains a collective work, the members of the rearguard were sometimes disappointing individually, apart from the almost irreproachable Captain Marquinhos.
The « warrior » Presnel Kimpembe, back after a thigh injury caused him to miss the matches of the France team, has not evolved to his best level since the start of the season, like for his fault at the end of the match on Christopher Nkunku which cost the penalty of equalizing in Leipzig (2-2).
While waiting for Ramos, Thilo Kehrer or Danilo Pereira, when he stepped back to help out, hinged disappointments.
The option of a three-way defense
The full-backs, either, did not particularly shine, except for the thunderous start to the season by Achraf Hakimi (3 goals), who has since fallen into line.
« It’s true, we concede a lot of shots, » Pochettino admitted on Friday in The team , “But it is one of the characteristics of offensive teams, to have side who go up, to project themselves into the opposing camp. We are in the phase of understanding ”. Abdoulaye Diallo played the first six matches of the season and only appeared twice afterwards, and Juan Bernat returns from a year away from the pitch with a serious knee injury.
Pochettino could try the three-way defense again. As in the first leg against Leipzig (3-2), his team reversed the trend by going three behind against Lille (2-1).
« This PSG can not play other than three behind », believes on France Blue former captain Eric Rabesandratana, consultant for the station. Paris has “players on the sides who are not defensive aces but who have a great lane quality. With the arrival of Mendes and Hakimi, we are obliged to exploit this force ”, considers“ Rabé ”. With Sergio Ramos, it would be easier to mount a three-way hinge …