After a crushing win the in Champions League where they destroyed Barcelona, Paris Saint-Germain were brought crashing down to Earth in Ligue 1 with a defeat against Monaco.
Goals from Sofian Diop and Guillermo Maripan in each half saw Mauricio Pochettino’s men well beaten, as Kylian Mbappe put in a stinker of a performance to haul him back down after his midweek hat-trick at the Camp Nou.
It means that the champions of France currently sit in third place in the league after 26 games, four points behind the leaders Lille.
When Pochettino was brought in during the Christmas break, it was expected that he would be able to boost his new club up to their usual level and get them back to the top of the league. Instead however, they’ve not been able to close the gap and are still in the same battle they were in under Thomas Tuchel.
Looking at the numbers, they’re not having a horrendous season as a team. They’ve conceded just 17 goals and scored a whopping 57 to have the best goal difference in the division but they’ve lost six games already this season. To put that into context, they lost eight in the previous two full campaigns combined.
Pochettino’s side in the Champions League tie looked assertive, dominant and clinical but domestically it seems to be a different story entirely. Whether it’s down to a lack of motivation or whether sides are just better prepared for them is hard to tell, but he needs to figure something out quickly.
Four points isn’t a lot and the fact they still need to play Lyon and Lille between now and the end of the season is obviously a big help to them and their chase for a fourth consecutive title.
The manager needs to find a balance in the team that can bring the best out of Mbappe once again, while also playing to the strengths of the rest of the squad. Neymar is out injured for a while and Angel Di Maria is struggling with fitness issues too, while the midfield is struggling for consistency in performance.
Marco Verratti is one of the best in the world and was rested for the defeat against Monaco but the likes of Danilo Pereira, Leandro Paredes, Ander Herrera, Rafinha, Idrissa Gueye and even Julian Draxler are very inconsisent and probably not of the correct quality for a team with the aspirations of PSG.
The summer transfer window will certainly be interesting for the club and the manager, but as for now they need to find a way to get themselves back to where they’re supposed to be considering the resources they have.
Pochettino’s reputation was sky-high before taking the job and unless he gets them another league title, it will plummet at the end of the campaign. He’s been warned – a couple of stand-out performances in Europe won’t be enough to save him from the media.
The clock is ticking…