PSG project should not be defined by Champions League success or failure - Galtier

By Sports Desk November 26, 2022

Christophe Galtier believes success in the Champions League should not define his ongoing project at Paris Saint-Germain.

PSG have been dominant force in France over the past decade, winning eight Ligue 1 titles while also capturing the Coupe de France and Coupe de la Ligue on six occasions.

But the coveted Champions League crown has continued to elude Parisian giants, who came closest to landing it when they lost 1-0 to Bayern Munich in the 2020 final.

PSG will face Bayern once more in the last 16 of this season's competition, but head coach Galtier thinks his future at the club should not depend on their performances in Europe.

"There are 10 teams that every season aim to win the Champions League, and only one achieves it," he told Marca. "And then, the other nine who have not succeeded, do we have to fire their coaches? No.

"It's very difficult to win the Champions League. I'm not looking to protect myself, but the big European clubs have this goal and don't change everything because they don't win it.

"There are several examples. Atletico [Madrid] reached the final twice and when they did not win, the club continued to believe in [Diego] Simeone and his sporting project. The same goes for Pep Guardiola. [Manchester City] haven't won yet, but the club still believes in their ideas.

"I think it would be a mistake to change PSG's sports project if the Champions League is not won. I think it's a process, obviously not a 10-year one, but what shouldn't be is that if we don't win this year, we change everything."

Despite being unbeaten in six matches, PSG only advanced to the knockout stages as group runners-up for a second successive season, as Benfica snatched top spot in Group H by virtue of scoring more away goals.

Galtier's side conceded seven goals - with only RB Leipzig (nine) and Eintracht Frankfurt (eight) shipping more against the teams that progressed to the last 16 - and the head coach insists they must tighten up to embark on a long run in the competition. 

"We have conceded too many in the Champions League," he added. "Obviously, there is a difference in level between the Champions League and our championship. But if we want to go far in the Champions League, we must improve our defensive level.

"Nothing is easy in the Champions League. In addition, no one in the analysis has taken into account the difficulty of the calendar this season. It is the first time in the history of football with such a compact and difficult calendar.

"Practically every week, there were Champions League games. I think that's why some teams that normally made it past the group stage haven't. We have played in three and a half months what we normally played in four or five months."

Related items

  • Real Betis defender Luiz Felipe sets remarkable red card record Real Betis defender Luiz Felipe sets remarkable red card record

    Real Betis defender Luiz Felipe has achieved a rather unwanted record following his latest dismissal for the LaLiga club.

    His 95th-minute dismissal in Saturday's 4-3 defeat to Celta Vigo was his third red card of the season in just 11 league appearances.

    It was a case of deja vu for the defender, who also saw red against the same opposition back in October – when he lasted just 20 minutes before he was given his marching orders.

    Felipe featured in just two of Betis' next seven games in LaLiga, before a second dismissal of the season came against Athletic Bilbao on December 29.

    Absent from the side for almost a month before returning in January against Getafe, Felipe retained his spot for the subsequent match against Barcelona and Saturday's clash against Celta Vigo.

    However, a third red of the campaign in that game gives Felipe a unique disciplinary record, having seen red in two of his last four appearances and three times in his last seven.

  • Napoli captain Di Lorenzo urges focus to deliver on 'huge opportunity' Napoli captain Di Lorenzo urges focus to deliver on 'huge opportunity'

    Napoli have a "huge opportunity" this season but "can’t let up an inch" in their hunt to win the Serie A title, according to captain Giovanni Di Lorenzo.

    I Partenopei have a 13-point lead atop the Italian top flight, aiming to clinch their first Scudetto since the 1989-90 season.

    Napoli have won 17 of their 20 league games so far (D2 L1) – including 15 of their last 16 – scoring 48 goals and conceding just 15.

    Ahead of their trip to Spezia on Sunday, Di Lorenzo spoke to the official Serie A website, saying: "It would be false of me to say that we don't have a huge opportunity this season, but there's a very long way to go and we can't let up an inch.

    "We just need to stay focused on our work, which is what has got us where we are at this point of the season."

    It is the first time in the three points for a win era (since 1994-95) that there has been 13 points between the first and second teams in Serie A after 20 games played.

    "I never imagined such a start to the season, what we are doing is something really special, and is just rewards for all the hard work we put in during pre-season and the summer, and continue to do now," Di Lorenzo said. 

    "From the first day, there was a good feeling among the players in the dressing room, with lots of youngsters wanting to show their value to the squad, especially after a strange summer where some important players left. Our confidence and belief has grown game after game, and it's up to us now to keep it going."

    Luciano Spalletti has surprised many with his ability to produce such a dominant team despite losing players such as Lorenzo Insigne, Kalidou Koulibaly, Dries Mertens and Fabian Ruiz among others at the end of last season.

    "Our ability to control games and manage possession has developed a lot these past two years. I’d also add that we are more confident, sharper and freer on the field of play; this has grown as the results got better. We’re really happy and just need to keep it up," Di Lorenzo added.

    "More than ever, the [Stadio Diego Armando Maradona] this year is giving a massive helping hand. You can feel the passion of the fans who back us to the hilt in every game, you can almost touch it. We can only thank them. And I've also realised the mood in the city depends on our result at the weekend, so this huge responsibility motivates us even more."

  • Mourinho takes a dig at Roma critics: 'I could have left in December, but this is my life' Mourinho takes a dig at Roma critics: 'I could have left in December, but this is my life'

    Jose Mourinho took aim at critics of Roma after a 2-0 win over Empoli on Saturday, reminding fickle fans he could have left the club in December.

    The former Chelsea, Real Madrid and Manchester United boss has put Roma in the mix for a top-four finish and a place in next season's Champions League, yet he feels he continues to get a raw deal.

    Goals from Roger Ibanez and Tammy Abraham inside the opening six minutes set up the latest victory that moved the capital club, at least briefly, up to third place in Serie A.

    Mourinho is thought to have been wanted by Portugal after the World Cup, but the 60-year-old elected to stay with Roma and hopes that will prove a wise decision.

    A narrow defeat to runaway leaders Napoli last week was followed by the blow of a Coppa Italia quarter-final exit at the hands of Cremonese, the whipping boys of the Italian top flight this season.

    Roma fans booed at times on Saturday as they continue to reel from that cup disappointment, with captain Lorenzo Pellegrini not spared when he came off in stoppage time, near the end of the game.

    But Mourinho said: "Pellegrini has a coach who respects him and respects everything he does for the team. Out of 60,000 people, maybe 20, 30, 50 people boo."

    He said his team were playing "with our limitations", a reference to their limited squad depth, and said beating Empoli should be regarded as "an excellent victory, because we played against a very difficult team".

    Mourinho added: "Some fans don't understand it, but this is normal. Fans love the club, but football is not their area. Obviously there are those who understand, and there are people in the press who should have understood, because it's their job, and who in my opinion understand but pretend not to understand that this is our reality."

    For the Cremonese cup game, Mourinho started without a number of his Serie A regulars, believing they needed to be protected from a heavy schedule, but the likes of Abraham, Nemanja Matic and Paulo Dybala were back in the starting XI for the Empoli game.

    "I think that if this team plays against Cremonese, we win and we're in the semi-final of the Coppa Italia," Mourinho said. "But then we wouldn't have won today. This is our reality. We always do our best, we work hard.

    "Today, before the game, I told the players that we have to go onto the pitch with a backpack full of the frustration and sadness of the last game, but we can't expect anyone to help. Just us.

    "For the first time I went on the pitch with them in the warm-up and our feeling was exactly this: it's just us. The truth is that we do our best. And as I always say, when you give your best, you can't give more. We always give our best.

    "I think day after day. I could have left in December, and I didn't leave, I stayed here. And this is my life. Sometimes it seems like we're in trouble, in the relegation zone, but we're there, we're at the top, with all those teams that are very strong. But that's okay."

    It remains to be seen whether Mourinho will be in charge next season, and whether Nicolo Zaniolo and Chris Smalling will stay at Roma.

    Attacking midfielder Zaniolo saw a January move fail to come off, after he appeared to push for a transfer before hesitating when Bournemouth looked to be his likely destination.

    Former Manchester United and England centre-back Smalling, who started against Empoli, is nearing the end of his contract and reports have claimed Inter and Juventus are keen on him.

    Asked what Zaniolo had to do to be welcomed back into the squad, and how Smalling might be persuaded to stay with Roma, Mourinho said: "Zaniolo must do absolutely nothing, it is a problem of the club and he must solve it with the club, not with me. For Smalling, I can do nothing to convince him."

© 2022 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.