The fallout from the historic events in Paris last week has seemed to consume a lot of the players of the French giants
Kylian Mbappe has revealed that he has not gotten proper sleep since Manchester United sent a humiliated Paris Saint-Germain crashing out of the Champions League on away goals in thrilling fashion on Wednesday night. Marcus Rashford kept his composure after a long delay necessitated by VAR deliberations to rifle home a 93rd-minute penalty and send United through to the quarterfinals of the premier club competition, in the process helping Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side become the first team in the history of the European Cup to reverse a two-goal deficit in a second-leg tie away from home.
United were 2-1 up at the end of the first half thanks to a brace from Romelu Lukaku, despite the dominance of Thomas Tuchel’s side, and the Ligue 1 outfit would surely have put the tie to bed had Mbappe’s usually-clinical finishing not deserted him, thus seeing him waste a pair of gilt-edged chances. The World Cup winner was short of his blistering form throughout the game, and United capitalised on that with one of their most memorable European night since the Champions League win in 1999.
And the former Monaco player says the defeat has affected PSG’s squad deeply. “The stadium was full, the supporters did their job and supported us,” the 20-year-old told French outlet Téléfoot. “It was a magnificent atmosphere and we spoiled the party. I’m stunned, there are no words. I’ve not been able to sleep, I think it’s been the same for everyone.”
PSG have now seen themselves exit the Champions League knockout stages twice in humiliating fashion over the last three years, as the Red Devils’ comeback followed a precedent set by Barcelona’s reversal of a 4-0 deficit by winning 6-1 at the Camp Nou in 2017. Questions regarding the strength of character in the PSG dressing room have since been (re)raised, but Mbappe is confident his side can ultimately become a success in Europe.
“I think there are lots of people who doubt,” he said. “But I still believe in this project. I’m sure that we’ll manage to do something special because the supporters are behind us and I hope it continues that way.”
The loss to United will take a long time to heal for the players in PSG’s dressing room, and they will continue to face questions regarding their stomach for a fight for a while. However, as we have seen so many times in sports over the years, adversity can do strange things to individuals/teams, and perhaps this most recent failure of the Parisians in Europe can bind the squad together even more and lead to a collective effort to right the wrongs of the 2017 and 2019, which is what the club, it’s fans and players will ultimately be playing for.