Did Luis Enrique whiff by using a fairly unused system against Newcastle?

Newcastle United FC v Paris Saint-Germain: Group F - UEFA Champions League 2023/24
Newcastle United FC v Paris Saint-Germain: Group F - UEFA Champions League 2023/24 / James Gill - Danehouse/GettyImages

Despite surprising everyone by using a 4-2-4 formation against Newcastle and miserably losing 4-1 to the 20-year-long absentees from the Champions League on Wednesday, Luis Enrique reportedly had been working on this system for weeks at the PSG Campus.

Contrary to the widely expected and often used 4-3-3, the Spanish manager opted for a more offensive approach, sacrificing Vitinha in midfield and placing Goncalo Ramos and Randal Kolo Muani upfront in a two-striker forward line.

While this shift raised some eyebrows, the 4-2-4 had previously proven effective against Marseille (4-0) and in a mixed performance against Clermont (0-0), and the offensive firepower was simply unarguable.

The unexpected change demonstrated Enrique's tactical versatility but also hinted at its success during previous use at Parc des Princes against Marseille, perhaps relying too much on that result and not considering the power he was facing in going against Premier League powerhouse Newcastle.

According to Le Parisien, however, this wasn't an invention on Wednesday as the coach had been "refining this system," adaptable to 4-2-3-1 or 3-3-4, for "several weeks."

Post-match, Enrique confirmed that he “thought it was the best system for the team," adding "I still think so.”

With upcoming fixtures against Rennes, Strasbourg, and AC Milan in the Champions League, the coach's decision to persist with the 4-2-4 or revert to the earlier 4-3-3 will be closely watched.