The former player of Paris SG, a consultant at RMC Sport, delivers his analysis to Figaro before the exit to Manchester United in the Champions League.
Do you think the power balance has been reversed between Paris and Manchester since the December last year?
Jérôme Rothen: I don't want to go that far. It is difficult to judge Paris on the league matches, because there is leadership against the number of points in advance. There was a disappointment with the elimination in the Home League Cup (by Guingamp) and since the group responded. It was bad for a good state of mind, but in recent weeks they only think of this fight against Manchester. I remain convinced that they managed in the head and legs to come to Tuesday night despite the packages.
Manchester page, how do you analyze this metamorphosis since Mourinho's departure?
The change of coach did a good job, and Solskjær made the group's smile. Players are revived and the state of mind is no longer the same, not to mention the value of the team that is much stronger. Even stronger. From there to put them on the same line as PSG, I won't go that far. If Man U wants to compete and eliminate Paris SG, it will raise the level. I have a question that they are capable, while PSG has already released major matches in the Champions League against Naples, Belgrade or Liverpool. They responded to this and it reassures me. There was character in the three matches.
"These absences hurt but don't stop. If Paris is eliminated, it won't be an excuse"
Paris is not spared the packages, how do you imagine the configuration of the Parisian environment on Tuesday night?
That is the mistake without success. These packages are big holes, especially for one of the biggest games of the season. It's annoying. But it is the dangers of clubs that have great ambitions. You do not win a title for 11 players. Here you will see the depth of the bench and the ability to respond to the present. These absences hurt but didn't stop. If Paris is eliminated, it will not be an excuse. You can also lose a match with Neymar. I want to see character. Apart from that sign, we had trouble seeing it in recent years and it can compensate for absence. I'll be ready, you can't tell, "PSG doesn't have the strength, even with these packages, to compete with Manchester United." You are still talking about Marquinhos, Di Maria, Paredes, Draxler, they are only international.
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So can you see the Paris SG above in this confrontation?
Yes. I often comment on Manchester in the Premier League, I then develop this team. NOTE, it's changed, it's not the same as under Mourinho. Players have recovered status and playing time such as Pogba, Rashford or Martial. But this team also has weaknesses.
Which in your eyes?
The whole defense has big problems. In football it is easiest to defend, the hard part is to put things in place with the ball. They are not the world's fastest defenders, and in the complementarity between the lines it is not well oiled. Paris has something to worry about at this level. When Mbappé is going to provoke the two centers, he has something to eat. There are several weaknesses on the English side. After two matches, Manchester is able to transform and transcend, but Paris is warned.
"Pogba can do everything, he's a monster. There aren't many players like him"
You mentioned changes in the face of some players. Paul Pogba goes into this box …
Quite. His position is no longer the same. He is closer to the opposite goal and the attacker. It was a bit like Mourinho, but not always. This team takes more risks, plays higher and it blooms because it touches more balls in 40-meter opponents. It's almost a number 10. Paul is a great player. He can do everything in football. He runs fast, for a long time he is a physical monster who can score and give goals. There aren't many players like him. This is the player to watch the PSG page. If you put too much freedom, he is able to hurt. Mourinho often questioned him in his position on and off the pitch. He used it and when it went bad you saw him lower his head. Then he has done beautiful things with Mourinho, we must not zap everything. But today it is completely fulfilled, it is important for a football player, even more when you are technically technical. He is the head of man U, he took the keys to the house and takes his responsibility. Then I put a flat on the collective side, the players around Paul have to increase their level of play.
On the Parisian side, the eyes will be on Kylian Mbappé. What do you expect from him?
I expect him to act as he did against the red star in Belgrade (1-4, 1 goal that night) as an attack leader. More generally, there was too much waste on his first matches, and everything that was a bit aimed at Naples or his relationship with Neymar was very good. I don't expect him to do Neymar in Manchester, but Mbappé. When he is served and it is up to the others to put him in the best position, he must make differences. If you serve him well with the confidence he can have, he can be the leader of the team.
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What about his relocation in the Paris attack axis in recent weeks?
It is a logical development. Letting him close to the goal is perfect, but he must be even more score and killer. In the axis, he has less need to defend himself and it suits him more. His real job is number 9. In this position, his agreement with Neymar is fabulous. Then he can hurt Manchester but must pass a course. He must use the bad fight he made in Liverpool or he did not exist in the engagement. He must build on these experiences. If he sticks to the defense, it can be a complicated battle for him. It is a young player who discovers the level for him to find the key. He is smart, talented, I hope all fires are green for him. I'm disappointed that he misses both games.
What game do you expect on Tuesday night?
It gets tight, I can't see a very big score on this fight to go. Manchester will not play very high not to be caught by Mbapé speed in depth, forcing PSG to find solutions to such a block. Therefore, the importance of finding the right shift and feeling the beats.