Monday, January 30, 2023

PSG captain Marquinhos refuses to blame Messi and Neymar absences for defeat at Lens

SoccerNews in Ligue 1 1 Jan 2023

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Paris Saint-Germain did not lose to Lens simply because Lionel Messi and Neymar were unavailable, according to captain Marquinhos.

The Ligue 1 leaders slipped to a first loss of the season, with goals for Przemyslaw Frankowski, Lois Openda and Alexis Claude-Maurice ensuring a 3-1 defeat at Stade Bollaert-Delelis on Sunday.

Christophe Galtier’s side were missing key personnel, with Messi only just returning from a post-World Cup victory break and Neymar banned after a red card against Strasbourg.

However, Marquinhos refused to cite the lack of the former Barcelona pair, instead suggesting PSG were simply outclassed by a superior opponent.

“They are great players who make the difference,” Marquinhos told Amazon Prime Video. “But we have already won without them.

“We have to find the cohesion of our team again. I think Lens were more efficient, especially in the first half. They won the duels which made the difference.

“We had opportunities to come back, to score, but we weren’t able to be as efficient as they were.”

PSG’s defeat was their first in Ligue 1 since March last year against Monaco, ending a 25-game streak without a loss in the top-flight.

It marked a first competitive reverse as PSG head coach for Galtier, after succeeding Mauricio Pochettino ahead of this campaign, and he felt his side gave an uncharacteristic account of themselves.

“Lens deserve this victory,” Galtier said. “I had a hard time recognising my team. We lacked cohesion, we collapsed as the match progressed.

“We gave a lot of space away, we made a lot of technical errors. There was a lot of surprising wastefulness from my boys. They don’t give me that habit usually.”

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