PSG win ti­tle, but sum­mer of change ahead

Viet Nam News - - SPORT -

PARIS — It may have felt in many re­spects as though Paris Sain­tGer­main’s sea­son ended a month ago, but this Sun­day they find them­selves cel­e­brat­ing re­claim­ing the French ti­tle, their sec­ond tro­phy in a fort­night.

While Ney­mar is still ab­sent re­cov­er­ing from an oper­a­tion on a frac­tured foot, Unai Emery’s side took back the Ligue 1 crown in the best pos­si­ble fash­ion, de­mol­ish­ing last year’s champions Monaco.

A near flaw­less run of do­mes­tic form over the last three months com­fort­ably saw off their near­est ri­vals, and Sun­day’s thump­ing tri­umph fol­lowed a 3-0 win over Monaco in the League Cup fi­nal at the end of March.

To their credit, PSG have not wal­lowed in self-pity since their de­feat to Real Madrid in the last 16 of the Champions League in early March, just af­ter the crush­ing blow of los­ing Ney­mar to in­jury.

“The de­feat against Real Madrid was a big de­feat, but apart from that I am very happy with what the team has pro­duced this sea­son,” said Emery re­cently.

Af­ter be­ing de­nied by Monaco last year, there was never re­ally any doubt that PSG would re­claim the crown this time.

They have been top since Au­gust. Champions for the fifth time in six sea­sons, Emery’s team are on course to set a new points record. There have been only two de­feats, against Stras­bourg and Lyon.

“The league ti­tle is very im­por­tant to me. It is the main com­pe­ti­tion and it shows how con­sis­tent a team is,” Emery said. “The club wants to progress, im­prove, be­come the best in the world.”

But their fi­nan­cial might – even re­gard­less of the threat of UEFA sanc­tions for breaches of Fi­nan­cial Fair Play – en­sures the play­ing field is so un­even at home, and the Champions League is their holy grail.

A sec­ond suc­ces­sive exit in the last 16 means heads will roll at the end of this sea­son in prepa­ra­tion for a new at­tempt to defini­tively be­come part of the Euro­pean elite.

Emery’s con­tract is due to ex­pire and the Spa­niard will not be kept on.

With their cred­i­bil­ity on the line, Qatar Sports In­vest­ments can­not af­ford to get it wrong when it comes to nam­ing a suc­ces­sor.

But hav­ing been linked with the likes of An­to­nio Conte, Luis En­rique, even Jose Mour­inho, in­stead it seems that Thomas Tuchel will be the cho­sen one.

Given Tuchel’s pro­file – a free agent since leav­ing Borus­sia Dort­mund last year, with just one ma­jor tro­phy as a coach and lit­tle Euro­pean pedi­gree – ap­point­ing the 44-year-old Ger­man may sur­prise many.

The new man’s big­gest job will be learn­ing to get along with Ney­mar, a bril­liant player but one whose off-field an­tics are fre­quently in the head­lines.

That is as­sum­ing Ney­mar re­mains in Paris for a sec­ond sea­son, amid con­stant spec­u­la­tion of a move away, pos­si­bly to Real Madrid. Other play­ers will cer­tainly leave, with the likes of Thi­ago Motta and Javier Pa­s­tore pos­si­bly hav­ing won their last Ligue 1 ti­tle. — AFP

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Viet Nam

© PressReader. All rights reserved.