PSG must act as if they're done in spite of a pitch-perfect week.
Thomas Tuchel's opening line at Wednesday night's post-match presser said in jest, but he may have unwittingly stumbled upon the right idea. The 3-0 drubbing of Real Madrid was a high water mark for the German Reign so far, but the club have been here before. On those occasions the 6-1 'remontadaManchester United, which L'Équipe's front page called "even worse", eventually arrived to humiliate PSG. As Sunday night's encounter with Lyon underlined, simply managing this latest heightening of expectations could be pivotal to Tuchel's success.
Two weeks ago this week, PSG opened their home European campaign with a landmark three-goal victory, with Bayern Munich roundly beaten at the Parc des Princes. In Kylian Mbappé's first truly sparkling display for the club, David Alaba was terrorized, a Munich team including Robert Lewandowski, Thomas Muller, Thiago Alcântara, Arturo Vidal and James Rodríguez were easily dispatched and, soon afterwards, Bayern manager Carlo Ancelotti was sacked. It was the first high profile outing for 'MCN' and the performance showed, many thought that PSG had finally arrived as a Champions League force.
Goalkeeper Alphonse Areola said the "MEGA" is in "XXL performance" according to L'Equipe. This week L'Équipe again got rather excited. 'Dance with angels' and 'Paris were angelic' were the headlines in reference to Angel Di María's man-of-the-match display. Tuchel spoke of "a very complete performance". PSG were outstanding in both games, but it was hard to ignore that.
Two years ago, as Ancelotti's bavarian reign faltered, his more relaxed style – devoid of the rigor and discipline Pepp played in the club's first five Bundesliga games – Wolfsburg and Hertha. Zinedine Zidane's return. Eden Hazard on his first competitive start for the club. Neither win, though suitably impressive, what quite the flag planting, coming of age, usurping of champions story.
The club and French press more and more after every eventual disaster. It is their greatest issue; beyond endemic mental frailty, fractious squad dynamics and often pandering to their biggest stars. PSG are the clingy, needy members of the group who try way too hard. That is not to say. Tuchel has made at least marginal gains in those areas, while the win over Real can be added to last season's group-stage victory against the eventual champion, Liverpool, and in the first leg at Old Trafford as well as in two draws with Napoli, as demonstrations of rising to the big occasion. But in these are just steps, and small ones at that.
A turgid encounter with Lyon on Sunday night, usually a bombastic affair, what another sign PSG remain deeply flawed. Tuchel said it would be a good match, but it would not be the same. Much as they were against Strasbourg last Saturday. But, just like that eventual 1-0 win, Neymar's individual brilliance snatched three points PSG scarcely deserved. Lyon goalkeeper Anthony Lopes is cold to fizz into his far corner and win the latest game.
Tuchel and PSG deserve credit for overcoming Lyon's challenge, emerging unscathed from a ground where they have often received a bloody nose. However, considering OL's diminishing form under Sylvinho, it's less of a triumph than they would have hoped to paint it. Where the much maligned Bruno Genesio would swing hard at home, Sylvinho reverted to type for a Ligue 1 side facing PSG by switching to five at the back and hoping for some space on the counter. It was not forthcoming. Since the exacting 6-0 win over Angers, Lyon have drawn three matches and lost two, while their football has become increasingly stilted and unambitious. A young and previously free-wheeling squad appear to be comparatively meek and uninspired. They were there for the taking.
If PSG are to finally progress, they need to stop pointing to each other. Although beating Madrid and Lyon is creditable, in a context, it has little bearing on their ability to hit the Champions League and reach their self-identified holy grail.
For Tuchel, when he is inevitably peppered with questions about winning the Champions League – either from journalists or those above him, the best he can do is follow his own advice. Get up and leave the room.
Ligue 1 talking points
• Angers continued their eye-catching start with a 4-1 routing of Europa League weary St Etienne. Wahbi Khazri and Loïc Perrin were killed in a trick by substitute Casimir Ninga embellished the scoreline, but Stéphane Moulin deserved much credit for his latest under the radar magic trick. A club of minimal resources and little stature, Angers recruit from Ligue 2's pool of talent better than anyone, and their wily coaching squeezes out a lot at an unfashionable squad. Ninga, a forward who has been around the league for some time but always a long way from prolific, is the latest example. Sunday's entire XI were either promoted to the club in 2015, signed from the second tier or came up with Nikes last season. This win put them second; A run in Europe would be a just reward for Moulin's brilliance.
• Premier League clubs wants to start next season as the only members of the top five leagues with two domestic cup competitions to contend with, after the French footballing authorities made the surprise decision to abolish the Coupe de la Ligue. The decision was taken in the European Cups via Ligue 1 ". What is a central factor. Whatever the motivation, this is likely to be the case for Ligue 1 and Ligue 2 clubs. Whether fans of Strasbourg, St Etienne, Sochaux and Gueugnon FC – all left-field winners of this century – will agree is another matter.