"A lot of space behind their backs" - PSG's Christophe Galtier explains why Lionel Messi, Kylian Mbappe and Neymar misfired initially against Maccabi Haifa

Christophe Galtier believes the Parisians trio worked well in the second half.
Christophe Galtier believes the Parisians trio worked well in the second half.

Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) head coach Christophe Galtier has explained that the frontline of Lionel Messi, Kylian Mbappe and Neymar couldn't start strongly in their team's 3-1 win over Maccabi Haifa due to their defensive positioning.

The Parisians registered their second UEFA Champions League win on the trot as they came back from a goal down at the Sammy Ofer Stadium on Wednesday, September 14.

Tjaronn Chery opened the scoring for the Israeli outfit in the 24th minute but Messi equalized eight minutes before the break. Mbappe put the visitors ahead after combining with the Argentine in the 69th minute before Neymar doubled the lead two minutes before full-time.

Mbappé, Messi and Neymar all score in the same Champions League match for the first time 🤝

Speaking at a post-match press conference, Galtier shed light on how PSG were able to turn the tables in Haifa with the help of the offensive triumvirate. He told reporters (via Culture PSG):

"It's not so much that the attacking trio didn't defend much. The team block was low, and the three of them quite high. They wanted to get the ball back as soon as possible, but it gave a lot of space behind their backs.
"We were really outnumbered in the middle. From the moment Messi, Mbappe and Neymar came back lower, in the team block, we started to counter their balls a lot better."

He added:

"We were then able to win the ball in important areas, and were better able to project ourselves offensively. It was not a question of bad will, but rather a bad analysis of the pressure between our midfielders and our attacking trio.
"As soon as Neymar was repositioned on the left side at half-time, it gave us a more interesting balance and we were able to recover the ball where it was needed."

While Messi has registered five goals and eight assists in 10 games, Mbappe has netted 10 times in eight matches this season. Meanwhile, Neymar has scored 11 goals and contributed seven assists in 10 appearances across all competitions for the Parisians.

PSG, who are currently atop the Ligue 1 standings, will next face Lyon at the Parc Olympique Lyonnais on Sunday (September 18).

Lionel Messi breaks UEFA Champions League record with PSG-Haifa goal

With his equalizer in the 37th minute of the contest against Maccabi Haifa on Wednesday, Lionel Messi became the first player to score against 39 different teams in the UEFA Champions League.

A fan went to hug Lionel Messi after PSG's Champions League game.

The 35-year-old forward broke Manchester United striker Cristiano Ronaldo's record of scoring against 38 different teams in the competition.

While the seven-time Ballon d'Or winner has netted 126 times, his PSG teammates Neymar and Mbappe have scored 42 and 36 goals respectively in the UEFA Champions League.

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Edited by Sankalp Srivastava
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