PSG – Nantes: Luis Enrique’s poker moves before Dortmund


By: Manu Tournoux

After a week of rest, Paris Saint-Germain returned to the wings of its Parc des Princes this Saturday evening, welcoming FC Nantes, during the 15th day of Ligue 1. A special match for PSG since it occurs a few days before one of the most important meetings at the end of the year 2023: the trip to Germany to face Borussia Dortmund and thus play for survival in the competition, during this 6th and final day of the Champions League. There are several schools in football when it comes to schedule management. Some coaches prefer to field a starting lineup similar to the one that will take to the field of the next big poster, while others play a very different card by rotating their squad. This Saturday evening at the Parc des Princes, the Spanish coach, Luis Enrique, preferred to play the balance between the tenure of certain executives (Marquinhos, Achraf Hakimi, Kylian Mbappé, Lucas Hernandez, etc.) and the minutes offered to players usually substitutes (Bradley Barcola, Kang-in Lee, Carlos Soler…). A winning poker move with this precious victory (2-1).

“It was difficult to play this match at home, and that’s normal when you have a match as good as the one against Dortmund in 4 days. The group will be the one that is aligned, the good thing is that we have our destiny in our hands, it will be like a final, it will depend on us but we will do everything to win this match, that’s the objective. It will be a good pressure, the pressure for which we play from a young age to a professional, I don’t think it’s a negative thing.said Luis Enrique after the meeting at the microphone of Canal+. In any case, given his management of his group, the former coach of La Roja is far from having underestimated the preparation for the match against Nantes in the championship, always useful before a European shock.

A very offensive bench with Ramos and RKM…

He himself admitted it at a press conference on Friday. Luis Enrique had absolutely no idea what to expect from this match against Nantes. It’s never easy to play a championship match before such a crucial match in the Champions League. However, the native of Gijon made several decisions which questioned a large number of observers at kick-off. From the positioning of Kylian Mbappé in number 9 to the choices of players left on the bench. Some concerns were possible, especially since a player like Ousmane Dembélé, suspended against Dortmund, could have started the match in order to provide PSG with one of its precious offensive elements around Mbappé. And for one of the rare times this season, Luis Enrique also left Randal Kolo Muani on the bench but also Gonçalo Ramos – the two most expensive summer recruits in the Paris transfer window. Coming into play, the former Frankfurt striker nevertheless gave victory to his team on one of his first balls by pushing the ball poorly cleared by Alban Lafont after Lucas Hernandez’s header from a free kick.

For the French international, no hard feelings, there is no bad competition in the Parisian hierarchy: “We have always been confident in the quality of the group. It will be up to me to continue to work and to continue to listen to the coach’s instructions whether I play right or left or up front, it will be up to me to give the best of myself. There is competition, we are in a big club, it will be up to me to prove myself. It’s the coach who decides.”, declared RKM in the mixed zone of the Parc des Princes after the meeting. With Barcola’s good match and Kolo Muani’s decisive entry into play, Luis Enrique will have his work cut out for him in the coming hours to decide who will start and in which set against Borussia Dortmund, on the pitch at Signal Iduna Park in Champions League. In any case, Luis Enrique made choices and they bore fruit this Saturday evening against FC Nantes. By blowing certain executives, PSG was even able to restore confidence and minutes to several second knives like Carlos Soler, Kang-in Lee and Bradley Barcola.

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