Steve McManaman made known his disappointment in a star-studded Paris Saint-Germain team after the loss to his former club, Real Madrid, in the second leg of their UEFA Champions League round of 16 tie.
PSG went into the tie with a 1-0 aggregate lead and were expected to make it out unscathed from the Santiago Bernabeu. Real Madrid were coming into the match on the back of some strong La Liga performances, but their form in Europe has been stuttering.
Karim Benzema scored a 17-minute hat-trick in the second half to send Real Madrid through to the quarterfinals while PSG left the competition for the umpteenth time in the knockout rounds.
The French club had more control in the first half than Real Madrid but loss of concentration led to their capitulation in the second half which Real Madrid took great advantage of.
Former Real Madrid winger McManaman, analysing the game in the BT Sport studios, talked about PSG’s mentality going into the game.
“We expected PSG to unravel, it just wasn’t in this game because they were so far on top at half-time,” he said on BT Sport.
“PSG do what PSG have always done, when they come under pressure, they absolutely melt away.
“There was no organisation, no leadership, yet from Real Madrid it was just an incredible, excellent, fantastic night, and another historic evening for this team in white.”
Rio Ferdinand: PSG loss unsurprising
Rio Ferdinand also analysing the game with my man and man on BT Sport echoed the former Real Madrid winger’s thoughts.
“This isn’t something that’s a surprise for us because we’ve seen it time and time again in the knockout stages of the Champions League,” the ex-Manchester United defender echoed.
“This Paris St-Germain team pressed the self-destruct button. They managed to do it for two of the goals today which were preventable, two goals where they’re overplaying and the goalkeeper starts it.
“It’s the mentality I think and the culture at the club. This isn’t something that is new at Paris Saint-Germain. They’ve got fantastic talent, world-class talent all over the pitch, internationals left right and centre. They can field 22 internationals.
“But when the mentality is not right on the day and you get into situations like this, sometimes you’ve got to stay in the game. It’s like a boxing match.
“Sometimes you’ve got to roll with the punches a little bit, stay in the game, you’ve got wily old characters in your team, you’ve got enough experience there to do that, but they never ever manage to be able to do that.
“It’s not just about now, this has happened with previous managers. So it is part of the ingrained culture that is there at Paris Saint-Germain.”
Ex Real Madrid forward labels PSG ‘soft’
Another ex-Real Madrid forward, Michael Owen, was in the studio analysing the game.
Owen called PSG soft and noted that his former club, Madrid, demonstrated during their Galactico era that Champions League glory is not guaranteed by signing global superstars.
“If you’ve got the same things happening every year, and it’s a different manager every year, then I find it hard to say that manager’s [not good enough],” Owen said.
“That team is like that. I’ve stood on here a couple of weeks ago and said Paris Saint-Germain will not win the Champions League, because they’re soft and they always have been soft, for five, six, seven years.
“People get carried away and say, ‘look at all those players, they’re gonna win the Champions League’. It’s virtually impossible to do it.
“Real Madrid proved that years and years ago, get all the best players in the world and you think you’re gonna win it. It doesn’t happen like that, it’s much more about team work.”
PSG manager Mauricio Pochettino, whose future is under the microscope after failing to deliver on his mandate of the Champions League, also talked about his side’s failures in the game to journalists in his post-match comments.
“We didn’t manage our emotions well,” the PSG boss said.
“We left ourselves exposed. We leave with great pain and disappointment because we didn’t score the goals to reflect our superiority over the two games.
“Qualification was decided in 10 minutes. We were the best team over the two games. Football is about managing match moments well.
“It’s true that we’ve collapsed a bit. It’s impossible to explain.”