Paris: A season which started with 14 straight league wins is ending in a calamitous manner for Paris St-Germain.
While the French league title has already been secured, a string of glaring individual errors, poor defending at set pieces and a lack of determination have seen PSG win just once in six games and concede 16 goals, including 11 in three straight away defeats.
“We’re making individual mistakes, and big ones,” coach Thomas Tuchel said. “We’re used to being the best team.”
Hired to bring Champions League success to the club, Tuchel instead finds himself mired in a domestic crisis. Lille scored five against PSG, while Montpellier won 3-2 on Tuesday and Nantes previously netted three. Rennes overcame a 2-0 deficit to win the French Cup last weekend on penalties.
Never in the eight years since Qatari investors QSI took over has the club experienced such a bad run.
Having already won the league, PSG in theory have nothing left to play for in the last four games, starting with Nice at home on Saturday. Yet the growing feeling is that these games will go a long way to defining what happens next season.
While Tuchel has used the safe argument that he’s had to cope with too many injuries, some players seem to have had enough.
Using an expletive to describe his side’s current form, centre-half Marquinhos — PSG’s only player to face the media after the Montpellier game — delivered a broadside.
“If we keep losing games what’s going to happen after?” he said. “We’ll take slaps from all sides, from the fans, from the media. We’ll just prove them right.”
While Tuchel has mostly refrained from criticising the slack attitude of his players, Marquinhos is in no doubt that is where the problem lies.
“We have to know how to take our responsibility,” he said. “We’re showing our bad side on the field. We need to be more mature.”
He appeared to question the work ethic of some of his teammates when he added: “We have to change our mentality and play like a team, when we have the ball and when we don’t.”
Marquinhos has played under four managers since joining the club in 2013. He stayed when he was out of favour, fought for his place and won it. And that gives the 24-year-old Brazil international credibility among fans and teammates.
“In the difficult moments we need to be more united, stronger,” he said. “People travel a long way to watch us play, we have a responsibility. Football isn’t just about winning, winning, winning ... Some days when we are more tired it’s difficult, we’re not playing well technically. But we can do a lot better.”
Strasbourg v Marseille, 10.45pm
PSG v Nice, 7pm
Bordeaux v Angers, 10pm
Guingamp v Caen, 10pm
Reims v Nîmes, 10pm
Montpellier v Amiens, 5pm
Nantes v Dijon, 5pm
Toulouse v Rennes, 5pm
Monaco v St-Etienne, 7pm
Lyon v Lille, 11pm