PSG hosted Lorient for MD33 of the Ligue 1 and put on a ridiculous show--literally--that saw them lose 1-3 to the visitors after playing most of the game with 10 men and now looking at a very real possibility of losing the championship to Marseille (second, five points behind in the standings).
This was one of the worst games of the season by PSG, who already trailed 0-1 in the 15th minute only for Achraf Hakimi to get sent off in the 20th with a double-yellow. Kylian Mbappe brought the game to a halt with the weirdest goal ever, but Lorient recovered and ended up getting a solid and merited 1-3 victory on the road.
Galtier decided to start the game using the rare-for-him 4-4-2 system instead of his favorite 5-3-2 and the decision backfired wildly in both the outcome and the change he was forced to make after Hakimi saw a red card before even reaching the midway point of the first half.
The coach of PSG, Christophe Galtier, addressed the media after losing for the first time in four games overall, at the Parc on top of everything, and against Lorient of all teams... to delay lifting the 11th Ligue 1 title more than it should in his post-game press conference. Here are the most interesting thoughts he shared.
How do you feel after this defeat?
"Of course disappointed. Not out of anger, but you have to analyze correctly. It's another defeat that doesn't come at the right time. But when you have such a start, you can't expect anything else. For 20 minutes, we were absent. You can't find yourself ten against eleven once you're behind. We had to react, we had a good 25 minutes in the second half, but you have to react quickly. Marseille and Lens are going full steam ahead in this second half of the season, and we need a collective but above all individual awareness because we have too many players inside. They must drive a change and ask themselves: why can we be so absent?"
At the break, did you have an argument with your players that lead to changes?
"No, no. I brought in Fabian Ruiz to recover the ball faster and have more legs. I recalled the basic principles of surpassing oneself, especially when there are ten of us. There was no anger. Now, we have to look ahead and the Troyes match. We have to finish this championship with victories and get this title. We will only go looking for it with determination and desire."
What are the necessary changes you are calling for?
"There must be awareness. Our workforce is weakened by injuries and players who will not return. We are not going to change players--we will finish with those present. We have too many players playing below their level."
Why was Achraf Hakimi pissed off? Who are the players you are targeting as part of the individual underperforming?
"I keep it for the locker room but no one can be satisfied with their game. We must do more when we have the ambition to be champions and to be champions quickly. Yes, you are right--Achraf was tense and nervous, and he took a stupid second card. But there was no sign this week that he was upset. He had trained normally."
Is this complacency on the part of some players?
"When you don't win duels, you are beaten either athletically or mentally. There, we let go mentally. We have to talk about it, ask ourselves what we want to do with the next five games, be champions or not. There is a title to look for. We've been first since day one. But we must have another investment to get this title. To avoid falling asleep, I changed the formation against Lorient to put more people inside. That didn't work as expected. I expected us to start with our feet to the metal, but given our endless wasted possessions, we lacked concentration and that put us upside down."