Paris St Germain coach Thomas Tuchel defended a change in system against Borussia Dortmund despite a 2-1 loss in their Champions League Round of 16 first leg on Tuesday.
Tuchel fielded a 4-3-3 system but while it piled bodies into midfield to keep Dortmund forward Erling Haaland under control it also left their own forward Kylian Mbappe far too isolated.
PSG’s Marco Verrati was their best player on the pitch, doing wonders to keep the midfield under control and set the pace for much of the first half, but the French side’s chances were virtually non existent in the opening period.
“We had some ideas. We played this system in Dijon two matches ago and it was the system that gave us structure and short distances to defend,” Tuchel, under pressure to get PSG past the last 16 stage for the first time in four seasons, told reporters.
“It gave us a structure to attack and control the build-up, to accelerate and to attack high.”
“We have no regrets. I have to make decisions before the game and I take responsibility. Nobody can say what would have happened with a different system.”
The formation partly worked in the first half with PSG in control but as Dortmund gradually grew in confidence so did the visitors’ problems in trying to contain them.
Tenenager Haaland twice found the space he needed to score and an equaliser by Neymar in the 75th minute, with the Brazilian winger often having to drop deep to pick up the ball, did nothing to change the eventual outcome.
“I know after a match if the result is not right it can be said that the system was a mistake,” Tuchel said.
“But other teams have also lost here. That can happen and no one knows what would have happened had we played a 4-4-2.”
“I felt like we played with a little fear – fear of making a mistake. We should have been looking for solutions. We were lacking patience and timing in attacking.”
(For more sports news and updates, follow Ahram Online Sports on Twitter at @AO_Sports and on Facebook at AhramOnlineSports.)