Mauricio Pochettino is at a loss to explain why Paris Saint-Germain’s terrific first half form against Manchester City went missing in a poor second half that saw them emerge down 2-1 after one leg of the UEFA Champions League semifinal on Wednesday.
The PSG manager says it wasn’t about a change in philosophy.
Rather, the explanation for two defensive errors and a straight red card comes down to biology.
“It is difficult to explain why they were better but we were better in the first half,” Pochettino said. “It was difficult to cope, their physical condition, they were more aggressive. We didn’t show the energy you need.”
“The two goals are very disappointing. It is difficult to accept but that can happen, and it has happened in a semi-final. It is very painful.”
PSG flat out fell apart, on the back foot for almost the entire second half in a way that seemed directed.
Les Parisiens went from a 9-4 shot advantage and 21-19 lead in duels to a second 45 of one shot to City’s seven and a 28-21 duels deficit.
Ander Herrera said PSG was very good in the first half and that the safeguards are off for the second leg.
“They didn’t create many chances,” said the ex-Manchester United midfielder. “The two goals they scored came from very little. The first goal is a cross and he didn’t means to shoot. The second, our wall opened up. So we didn’t give away many chances but the result is a 2-1 defeat and now we need to go there to try to win without anything to lose.”
Pochettino insists that PSG can still return to the final, where both his club and he can avenge prior losses.
“The second leg, in football you need to believe. They have the advantage.”