Real Madrid's Cristiano Ronaldo and PSG's Neymar leave the pitch at half-time during their Champions League on Wednesday. Pic/AFP
Neymar insisted that Paris Saint-Germain can still qualify for the Champions League quarter-finals despite losing 3-1 to Real Madrid in the first leg of their last-16 tie on Wednesday. On PSG's chances of beating Real in the return leg on March 6, he said: "I think it is difficult, but nothing is impossible. Last year I was in a much worse situation and we managed to get through. I hope we will be able to play better."
Pressure on EmeryMeanwhile, coach Unai Emery has been in a constant battle to win over the doubters since joining Paris Saint-Germain, but the pressure on him is now greater than ever after Wednesday's defeat by Real Madrid. A year after the spectacular collapse in Barcelona and the 6-1 defeat that sent them packing from the Champions League in the last 16 despite a 4-0 win in the first leg, again PSG fell apart late on against one of Spain's giants.
Big decisions backfireEmery cannot shoulder all of the blame if his players are unable to cope with the pressure at crucial moments in such games. However, he would have had a sleepless night after returning to Paris with the big decisions he made on Wednesday backfiring.
From leaving a player of Thiago Motta's experience out altogether, to dropping captain Thiago Silva and choosing to play Giovani Lo Celso, 21, in midfield, Emery gambled big before kick-off. Then he decided to take off Edinson Cavani, in the second half, only to replace him with a right-back in Thomas Meunier. Angel Di Maria, a proven big-game performer, was left on the bench.
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