Complaisance – French for complacency – is one word that must be ringing in the head of Laurent Blanc after his side failed to hold on to a 2-1 lead against Manchester City in the first leg, quarterfinal clash in Paris.
PSG truly had everything – well almost everything – going for them on the night, playing against a City side without two of its most influential players – Vincent Kompany and Yaya Tore and one would have expected the Parisians to take an advantage into the return leg, but that wasn’t the case.
Zlatan Ibrahimovic was the unusual culprit in this one, as he missed a first half penalty and then somehow shot over the bar when he was put through on goal in the second half. Blanc will probably look at those moments as when they could have gotten the result.
They were obviously on his mind when he spoke after the game. He said: “Zlatan tonight was really on a rollercoaster — he missed a penalty and then had a really clear chance and didn’t score. We thought it wasn’t his evening but he kept on believing and scored,” and that about summed up his, and the team’s night on Wednesday.
Blanc is no stranger to European competitions and he knows the 2-2 draw at home may have shifted the momentum in City’s favour, in a game they probably should have won.
Unlike their strong performances over two legs against Chelsea, there were so many individual errors in the team, especially in the midfield where the trio of Adrian Rabiot, Thiago Motta and the usually effective Blaise Matuidi lost the ball all too easily.
A perfect scenario is how they lost the ball in midfield that led to City’s first goal, and it is something that Blanc also noticed.
“I don’t know if we were weak but there were many mistakes in terms of building up our play and in two of these mistakes it allowed Man City to score important away goals.
“This is our main regret. We made mistakes we’re not used to but maybe it’s the quality of this City team and the way they pressed us.
“We conceded first and things could have gone differently but I was satisfied by the way we came back, although we couldn’t manage to score the third goal,” he said further.
Going into the second leg and knowing they must either win or force a 3-3 draw at least to progress to the semifinals, those mistakes must be eliminated and it is something Blanc agrees with.
“We remain hopeful, we always keep hope: we are strong, we are confident. But we’ll have to do better in the second leg, much better,” he said, knowing also that his true legacy at the club will probably be judged by how far he goes in the Champions League, more than how many Ligue 1 titles he wins.