Monday, May 27, 2024

Luis Enrique ´proud´ of PSG despite Champions League semi-final exit

SoccerNews in Ligue 1 8 May 2024

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Luis Enrique expressed his pride at the efforts of his Paris Saint-Germain side, despite their Champions League exit at the hands of Borussia Dortmund.

The Ligue 1 champions were knocked out in the semi-finals on Tuesday after a 2-0 aggregate loss to the Bundesliga giants, having hit the woodwork six times over the two legs – making it a record tally of 14 for the campaign – and managed 31 attempts at Parc des Princes.

PSG missed a golden opportunity to reach their second Champions League final, but it is not all doom and gloom after a season of transition with a new coach.

The Ligue 1 title is already in the bag with three matches remaining, and they have a Coupe de France final showdown with Lyon to come later this month.

“We were not inferior over the two legs, but football rewards those who score – not those who hit the woodwork,” Luis Enrique said.

“My goal was to be fighting for all the titles. Tonight I’m proud of my team, of all the players.”

PSG have now lost all six legs of their three two-legged Champions League semi-finals, after double defeats against Milan in 1995 and Manchester City in 2021.

The year they reached the final, in 2020, they beat RB Leipzig in a one-off semi-final after COVID-19 disrupted the season, before losing out in the final to Bayern Munich.

This season started with a new coach in Luis Enrique and without Lionel Messi and Neymar, as club president Nasser al-Khelaifi put an emphasis on building a team over individual talents.

While not always brilliant, PSG have looked like an organised outfit and the coach said he was already working on building a team without Kylian Mbappe, who is widely expected to leave at the end of the campaign.

“The players and coach gave their all,” Al-Khelaifi said. “Congratulations to Dortmund, we deserved better. It’s a tough game. I’m proud of my team, the youngest in Europe.

“We’ve reached the semi-finals three times in five years. That’s not our objective; it’s still the final. That’s soccer; you have to accept it and sometimes it’s not fair. We’ll accept it.”

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