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Paris Saint-Germain may have improved in the Champions League over the past two seasons but a 2-2 draw away at RB Leipzig but did little to convince as potential winners.
While the old adage that an ability to win ugly makes a great champion, it’s now tempting to wonder what it is Mauricio Pochettino is actually doing (or is able to do) in the French capital.
Within 15 seconds from kick-off, PSG were clearing off the line and that kind of last-ditch defending continued for much of the opening twenty minutes.
Ironically, given the vast array of expensive talent on their books, it was former youth product Christopher Nkunku who opened the scoring with a bullet header from an Andre Silva cross in the eighth minute.
The visitors could have found themselves two goals down within 11 minutes, although Silva missed a penalty with a rather tame attempt.
Despite a frontline of Kylian Mbappe, Neymar and Angel Di Maria, it is midfielder Georginio Wijnaldum who PSG must thank. The former Liverpool man, who has previously complained about his lack of game time, finished off a brilliant team move in the 21st minute before heading home on the second-phase of a corner in the 39th.
After from that, this was a game without any momentum after the early Leipzig siege. Niggling fouls, constant offsides and sloppy passing in the middle of the park stopped either team getting into full flow. Even after a late Dominik Szoboszlai penalty could spark some sort of life into proceedings.
Still, Pochettino has been in charge since January. At times during the first-half, it was Leipzig who better resembled his famous Tottenham team and, frankly, PSG could have been managed by any coach working in the top level of the game on Wednesday evening.
There was no style and only little substance. We’re getting to the stage where claiming you saw Pochettino’s gritty early work will sound like those of the millions of people who ‘saw’ The Beatles playing in The Cavern Club before they hit the big time.
Managing PSG does not look easy with even former boss Thomas Tuchel claiming he felt more like a governmental minister than a coach, such is the political nature of the club.
Still, almost a year on from his appointment, does anybody know what Pochettino wants his team to be?