The Parisian coach takes stock at the end of a day that was highlighted by “rumors” regarding Mbappé following his team’s draw against Benfica (1-1) on Tuesday and after the match.
After going scoreless for three rounds in a row, Brake said, “Yes, we can consider it that way.” When you play for PSG, you have to win to be considered a more dangerous opponent. This encounter is nothing like what we saw the week before in Lisbon, where both teams either gave up more situations or generated more of their own. Is it because the coaches analyze the game to find ways to make their teams more impenetrable and concede fewer situations? We were under less pressure, and we used the ball better, but as we approached the last 30, and 20 meters, instead of accelerating and being on the percussion, of the game forward, we slowed down the game. This allowed Benfica to replace itself and be on a low block. Perhaps it was a game in which the defenses prevailed over the attacks. And in that place, things were tougher.
PSG is not as impressive as they were at the beginning of the season: “The conclusion is true. We are less flashy, less clever, and less threatening. On the physical body level, I do not believe there is a stroke equivalent to this. Simply put, at the beginning of the season and the first matches, we had a lot more play in the verticality, and it went much faster once we had released the ball and that we had created the shifts. It went much faster on the sides, in the penalty area, and it went much faster once we had created the shifts. Every time we take the ball out of bounds, which we did fairly frequently tonight, we made an extra touch, we moved back, and as a result, the opposition’s defensive block was able to reconfigure itself and become significantly more difficult to overcome. This is a very significant line of work, and it also leads to a global reflection on the first few months, during which time there were some intriguing occurrences and others that were not as exciting. The situation is becoming less fascinating right now. There is a worldwide reflection taking place on the state of form of each other, the state of form of the workforce with the sequence of matches, but also on the fact of bringing one or even two additional players a little higher on the ground to be much more dangerous.»
Read also’s observations against Benfica: Mbappé imperturbable
The rumored departure of Kylian Mbappé prompts the question, “What do I know? Not a thing! I do not know. I just wanted to let you know that a rumor has turned into information, and information is almost to the point where it may be considered a statement. It comes as quite a surprise to me that a rumor like this would surface just a few hours before a highly significant match. When it came to Kylian’s preparation for the match, I didn’t see anything out of the ordinary. This kind of information, contemplation, or conversation was never brought up with either Kylian himself or the management of the club, and I was never made aware of it. Kylian delivered a very impressive performance that was also very intense. He was the one who posed the most threat. It was his goal (penalty goal in the 40th). Unfortunately, the referee judged that he was in an offside position for a fraction of a meter, which prevented him from scoring a second goal that would have tied the game. He responded with an explanation of the rumor. So there’s no need for me to comment on that, other than to say that we turned a rumor into information, which then into a statement. But we kept our attention on the game, and I don’t believe that this rumor interfered with our preparation for the game in any way.
In this tempestuous context, the pre-match statement went somewhat like this: “I have not brought up the matter at all with my players or the staff, either individually or collectively.” We kept our attention fixed on getting ready for this significant competition. Nobody on the team seems to be bothered by that, at least not to my knowledge.
Who is this rumor for?
Whether or not the information that was revealed during the day surprised you: “Of course, that catches me off guard. That is only a rumor! In full preparation for this match, if this rumor spreads four or five hours before kick-off, I have the right to be arrested regardless of the timing of its dissemination. Who is the subject of this rumor? You can put up a little banner on the television to pose the question, or you can do it in the media. Not even to us…» especially not to us
At the end of the game, there were several player substitutions, but no adjustments were made to the system: “There was a change by adding striker with the entry of Hugo” (Ekitike). Then, on a switch in formation, while the game was in progress, I noticed that we did not frequently stay three behind. We played with Marco Verratti and Marquinhos in the center position, and Vitinha and Neymar played the upper positions. After then, it was essential to maintain a central axis with three players because they had both depth and game on the inside. There were certain things that we needed to accomplish while we had the ball and while we were trying to advance the ball. But for practically the entirety of the game, we played with two midfielders and two others higher up, with two forwards. This was the case even though Pablo Sarabia is not a striker; rather, he is a side player; this is the reason why I substituted Hugo Ekitike.
Read also: Despite Mbappé’s excellent performance against Benfica, PSG must still wait to qualify for the Champions League.
Positioning of Marquinhos in the center of the pitch: “The aim was to get out of the pressure from Benfica compared to what we had witnessed in the first game.” We had accomplished some of it, but in my judgment, not nearly enough. We were adamant about this during the preparation for the match, as we wanted to ensure that we would be able to finish with two midfielders and have someone more behind the backs of Benfica’s midfielders, in this case, Vitinha and Ney, by focusing on the two opposing midfielders during the excursions. Marquinhos and Marco Verratti were playing ball together. It was operational. What didn’t work as well was that after we got out of the pressure, regardless of whether it was high or mid, we didn’t accelerate as we should have accelerated, and we weren’t flung forward rapidly as the shifts were made.»
The following are statements made during a news conference: