Equipped with petro dollars and stars, Paris Saint Germain cannot drop the image of big time bottlers. The latest defeat against a limited Manchester United is just another repeat of previous seasons failures.
Whoever manages PSG these days has to achieve one thing: to keep the club in the Champions League beyond April. It is their malaise to falter when the going gets tough.
To be fair, the opponents were never turnips. Twi years ago they were 4-0 up after the first leg against Barcelona only to crash out in the return leg when Barcelona really came out to play. And play they did, scoring six while Paris just managed to score one. One more and they had gone through but it never looked likely.
Exactly a year ago to date ( March 6) Real Madrid left them no chance. Twice they came up second best against Barcelona. Chelsea, Man City and Real respectively were also too big a challenge for PSG
This year is particularly bitter as they were facing a limited Manchester United side that is more occupied with itself and finding its soul than for its footballing traits. Going to Old Trafford and scoring twice without reply is no guarantee but should give anyone the confidence to put the match beyond their opponent. Not so Paris Saint Germain. They begged Man United to score with two blunders early in the game, Lukaku scoring twice after just two minutes and again on twenty. Even though Paris equalized after 12 minutes, United never gave up. Kylian Mbappé squandered some good chances as did others.
The bitterness for the Parisians will be even worse considering that United got a penalty awarded that should have been a corner kick. Yes, even that may have seen the visitors from Northwest England score yet the penalty after a VAR decision remains dubious as the elbow of Kimpembe never went towards the ball.
There is no need to lament; the tie is over and Paris once more have lost. The questions for the coach Thomas Tuchel will be tough. He is in good company: Laurent Blanc, Carlo Ancelotti and Unay Emery have all faced the same problem. One issue they cannot solve themselves is the relative weakness of the domestic league. By now PSG are almost 20 points ahead of Lille OSC in second place, which means the league title is theirs to lose. This has been the case since 2013 and by coincidence this was the year this malaise has begun.
At the same time, blaming the league for being weak is clutching straws as these are multimillionaire football players who should be able to do their jobs under whatever circumstances. Given the squad of Paris Saint Germain they should have their place in the semi-finals almost pre-booked in September yet another failure speaks volumes of their professional motivation.
Whoever manages to keep Paris in the Champions League until the month of May will become a legend, winning it, will make the coach a living legend maybe with a statue built around Parc des Princes. For now the club will have to live with another disgrace. Maybe, just maybe it will dawn on the club that money does not buy success at the end of the day and that a game lasts 90 minutes plus Fergie, sorry injury time. Maybe, just maybe with that realization they will get the prize that they so crave.