PSG 1-2 Man City
PARIS – Arsene Wenger slammed ’emotional and stupid’ Paris Saint-Germain – PSG after their defeat by Manchester City in the Champions League on Wednesday.
Marquinhos put the home side ahead with a first-half header but Manchester City improved after the break and levelled through Kevin De Bruyne’s cross, which drifted beyond goalkeeper Keylor Navas.
Riyad Mahrez’s free kick went through the wall to give Manchester City a 2-1 lead heading into the second leg of their semi-final tie next week.
PSG’s hopes suffered a further blow when Idrissa Gueye was shown a straight red card for an ugly late challenge on Ilkay Gundogan.
And Wenger believes PSG’s second-half collapse was due to their poor discipline.
Speaking about Mahrez’s free-kick, Wenger said: ‘From the defenders turning their back, it’s between Paredes and Kimpembe. Why do you lie a guy on the ground if the guys in the wall open it?’
‘I personally believe that the second goal is not acceptable for that level. It’s not the first time we see players turning their back and City took advantage of that.
‘But I must say in the second half PSG were protective and not progressive any more. Is it because they were not physically capable?
‘After the 1-1, they collapsed completely. They become emotional and aggressive in a stupid way.’
Wenger believes a tumultuous domestic campaign, where PSG are currently second in the standings and a point behind Lille, has impacted the confidence of Mauricio Pochettino’s men.
They became visibly irate as the second half turned against them with Neymar particularly getting embroiled in spats off the ball after a first half where he shone for the French giants.
‘What was very interesting tonight is that you could see that when it was 1-1, PSG mentally collapsed,’ Wenger added.
‘This is as well the consequence of this team losing eight games in the league. This has an impact in this kind of situation.
‘When it’s 1-1 the team knows they have lost many games, they carry that. It’s not like the season before when they were unbeatable in the league.
‘You could see the confidence dropped considerably and the mental impact when Man City equalised, for the semi-final of a Champions League, was too big.’
Speaking after the game, Pochettino admitted the errors were ‘really painful’ and ‘difficult to accept’ in a game of such magnitude.
‘[It was] two accidents for the two goals,’ the Argentine said.
‘I think we feel very disappointed. It was difficult to accept that it happened in the semi-final, and that is really painful that it happened in this moment.
‘I think it was difficult for us to cope with the demand and the physical condition.
‘They were a little bit more aggressive, and it was difficult for us to recover the ball, sometimes it was a lot of possession for Manchester City, and of course it made it difficult to play.
‘We didn’t show the energy you need when you recover the ball to keep possession and try to force them go deep.’
PSG resume their fight to recapture the Ligue 1 title at the weekend when they come up against Lens at the Parc des Prince on Saturday, before heading to Manchester for the return leg against City.