Thursday, 23 February 2012

Ancelotti's PSG: Substance but no style?

Not sure whether Ed is big in France, but they usually like that kind of whiny nonsense
So far the week at PSG has been about as exciting as an evening in spent listening to Ed Sheeran records. Seriously, if that man is the best solo artist Britain has to offer our music industry might as well give up now.

While being terminally boring hasn’t stopped Sheeran achieving fame and fortune, it could prove to be more of a hurdle for PSG boss Carlo Ancelotti. Because while the Italian has yet to taste defeat since taking charge at the Parc des Princes in January, the performances levels on the field have been, er, very similar to those of Antoine Kombouare’s pre-Christmas team. 

This was particularly evident in Sunday’s 2-2 draw with Montpellier where, as I noted in my last post, there was a distinct lack of cohesion and we relied on a couple of moments of individual brilliance to get us through the match.

Ancelotti has made it clear that the priority this season is to keep winning and secure the title regardless of how we do it, and grumbling is already starting. A poll in L’Equipe on Tuesday (thanks to @tomwfootball for pointing this out on Twitter) found only 25 per cent of respondents felt the PSG had improved under Ancelotti. A similar ballot currently running on the more-partisan Parisien site is more even, with 53 per cent of voters declaring we’re no better off with Ancelotti at the helm than we were when AK was in charge.

Another article in the Parisien suggests the players are struggling to get to grips with Ancelotti’s favoured Christmas tree formation: “It's a very difficult system to learn and very demanding” says a made-up un-named squad member, and the last thing we need is unhappy players given that the dressing room already has more than enough sizeable egos in it.

Personally, none of this bothers me unduly. This season was always going to be about the ends rather than the means, and I’d rather have an ugly winning team rather than a pretty non-winning team, even if said ugly team has had big-budget plastic surgery. You can say that we should expect more given the massive investment of QSI, but this is a club that doesn't have a culture of winning, and installing that has to be the first priority of the "project".

The details (ie looking like a functional team) can come later, but in the short-term Ancelotti could probably do with a dominant performance against decent opposition to nip the moaning in the bud. Saturday’s match at Lyon could present him with the perfect opportunity.


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