The recent defeat against Newcastle has not only exposed the vulnerabilities in Paris Saint-Germain’s (PSG) gameplay but has also brought to light the underlying leadership problem within the team. The lack of unanimity surrounding Marquinhos’ captaincy and Kylian Mbappé’s struggle to assume a leadership role have become significant concerns for the French club.
While any defeat in the Champions League is bound to be scrutinized, the 4-1 loss against Newcastle has triggered a wave of criticism, with one particular area of focus being the team’s leadership. During crucial moments of the game, there seemed to be a lack of vocal players willing to step up and rally the team, with Lucas Hernández being the only exception.
In France, doubts continue to linger regarding Marquinhos’ ability to lead PSG as captain. The Brazilian defender, who was partially responsible for Newcastle’s first goal due to a costly mistake near the penalty area, has failed to exhibit the necessary assertiveness in high-stakes matches in European competitions. However, it would be unfair to solely blame Marquinhos for the defeat, as wearing the captain’s armband automatically places him in the spotlight whenever PSG suffers a setback in the Champions League.
According to reports from RMC Sport, there are supporters within the team who believe that other players, such as Lucas Hernández, who not only scored PSG’s only goal but also showed character on the pitch at St James’ Park, should be given the opportunity to compete for the captaincy. Despite Marquinhos’ pivotal error, which did not jeopardize his position as a defender, he continues to enjoy the unwavering trust of coach Luis Enrique, who has never considered benching him for matches of this magnitude.
L’Équipe has reported that the departures of Neymar and Verratti have somewhat isolated Marquinhos internally. The former AS Roma player does not have strong backing within the squad, but the club and Qatar remain confident that he can rectify the situation. Two seasons ago, Marquinhos faced severe criticism from fans after PSG’s disastrous performance at the Bernabéu, which also cast doubts on his suitability as the team’s captain.
However, it is not just Marquinhos who has raised concerns following PSG’s 4-1 defeat against Newcastle. Kylian Mbappé’s lackluster performance has sparked a debate in France about whether the captain of Les Bleus can lead his team effectively in the absence of Messi and Neymar. While it is true that Mbappé did not have a proper preseason and is not in peak physical condition like the rest of the squad, his recent performances, coupled with Luis Enrique’s tactical choices that keep him away from goal-scoring opportunities, have prevented him from shining on the field.
It is worth noting that Mbappé was not chosen as the captain through a team or coaching staff decision. The voting process was entirely personal, and as Luis Enrique reiterated in a press conference, he had no influence over the selection. Marquinhos was chosen almost unanimously, but his performance in crucial matches has raised skepticism within the team. With PSG’s season hanging in the balance, especially in the upcoming Champions League matches against AC Milan, it is imperative for the team to find a leader who can strengthen the collective and prevent collapses like the one witnessed against Newcastle.
PSG’s recent defeat against Newcastle has not only highlighted the team’s shortcomings on the field but has also brought the issue of leadership to the forefront. Marquinhos’ captaincy has come under scrutiny, with doubts about his ability to lead the team effectively in important matches. Additionally, Kylian Mbappé’s struggles to assert himself as a leader have raised questions about his suitability for the role. PSG must address these leadership concerns promptly and find a leader who can inspire the team to overcome challenges and achieve success in the Champions League.