Wednesday, November 14Information That Matters

Fortune favours brave Zidane but PSG’s latest collapse puts Emery’s job at risk

Fortune favours brave Zidane but PSG’s latest collapse puts Emery’s job at risk
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The Frenchman saw his side prevail after some positive changes late on, while his PSG counterpart was left complaining about the match officials

This is a tie in which so much is at stake. With both Real Madrid and Paris Saint-Germain playing for their season in the Champions League, it is difficult to see how both coaches can survive losing this last-16 series. After the first leg, it is advantage Zinedine Zidane.

Despite poor results in La Liga and the Copa del Rey this term, as well as all the pressure that comes with coaching Real, Zidane was his usual charismatic, calm and smiley self in the pre-match press conference on Tuesday. PSG’s Unai Emery, by contrast, looked tired, stressed and haggard as he faced the Madrid media.

It is often said that teams are a reflection of their coaches and perhaps that explains why Zidane has been so successful at Real. He has an aura about him, is always positive and seems to transmit tranquility to his players.

The same cannot be said of Emery. The Basque boss is an anxious presence on the touchline, a coach who rarely sits still and one who does not emanate the same serenity when he addresses the press. Players pick up on all of that.

Emery is a top tactician, of course, but he has a notoriously poor record in meetings with Madrid and Barcelona, his case hardly helped by last season’s collapse against the Blaugrana at this same stage of the Champions League, losing 6-1 at Camp Nou after he had masterminded a fantastic 4-0 win in Paris.

In this match, he surprised by dropping Thiago Silva in defence, while Angel Di Maria – who has impressed for the French league leaders this season – was left out for the entire 90 minutes.

Youngster Giovani Lo Celso started in another shock move, the Argentine leaving his hands all over Toni Kroos and conceding the penalty that allowed Madrid a route back into the match when there appeared not to be one.

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