PSG hosted and defeated Angers 2-0 in the first game staged at the Parc des Princes in 2023. On the day that marked the return of Lionel Messi to the French capital, it was all smiles and business for Paris Saint-Germain, who saw off the bottom-dwellers of Ligue 1 and added three more points to their season tally.
The coach of PSG, Christophe Galtier, addressed the media after the match between the best and worst teams of Ligue 1 in his post-game press conference. Here are the most interesting thoughts he shared.
Asked about the 2-0 victory but the dull way in which it was achieved...
"It's important from a standings point of view after the defeat by Lens (2-0 against Strasbourg, now six points behind PSG but still in second place), but also in a particular period with some strange results."
"In terms of play, it was not perfect, but that is linked to the post-World Cup period."
Christophe Galtier: "I realized before the match that the orginal game plan was not going to work."
"For several weeks, the group has been very scattered. The players are in completely different shapes and states of form."
"Little by little, we are getting our full first-team squad back. Achraf Hakimi and Kylian Mbappe (the only two players off on vacation at this point) will join us this Thursday."
About the decision of returning to a three-center-back defense...
"In the last two training sessions, on Monday and Tuesday, we worked on a (different) game plan but I quickly realized yesterday (on Wednesday, the day of the game against Angers) that it was not going to work."
"We worked a lot with the staff to find the best option and this morning I spoke to my fellow coaches to tell them that we were not going to play the way we expected [Tuesday]."
"It was a good choice because we are not in the best shape."
"My players were serious (accepting the last-minute change) and I congratulate them. Without that reaction, we could have been in trouble."
About whether or not the five-at-the-back formation is here to stay...
"It was for this game, [and different] to what we had prepared."
"I felt [the original plan] was not going to work as I said."
"I put the players back into a system where the team performed very well in the first few weeks of the season."
"It was [a solution only] for this game. We have to have that ability to change during the game depending on how the game is going."
About Nordi Mukiele and his ongoing impressive run of performances as Achraf Hakimi's understudy...
"Nordi is more than an understudy, he is very versatile."
"The fact that Achraf Hakimi went to the World Cup, and he reached the latest stages of the competition... he earned the right to rest and Nordi raised his level of play."
"It is a big advantage for me to have players like Achraf or Nordi in my team."
About Lionel Messi's anticipated return to Paris after winning the World Cup...
"First of all, thank you to the fans, and congratulations to them for welcoming him back. Believe me, [the reception] warmed his heart."
"Leo recovered well, he had a few training sessions with us for a while. He is calm, swift, and very fit on a physical level."
"The team without or with Leo has a different face. Leo likes to score, needs to score."
"He felt good physically, and it was important for him to play again soon and important for the team to have Leo back. The fact that he could play the whole game is even better.