can you coach MNM? —

MNM, geniuses and failures

When Paris Saint-Germain recruited Neymar and Kylian Mbappé in 2017, Paris supporters wiped their hands. And for good reason, two absolute geniuses of the round ball landed at the Parc des Princes to dream bigger. And you can’t blame them for believing in Santa Claus when two world football stars show up at your favorite club. But as time went on, PSG fans became disillusioned. Every game, every week is an emotional upswing. From heroes to zero, from geniuses to bad boys.

And since Leo Messi arrived at the Parc des Princes, this feeling has increased tenfold. PSG may have one of the best attacks in history, but that has been disappointing in every game. And the coach didn’t really seem to be asking. Neymar and Mbappé knew Unai Emery, Thomas Tuchel, while Leo Messi was coached by Mauricio Pochettino and Christophe Galtier. And the diagnosis seems to be completely the same: they do more or less what pleases them. So, we have the right to ask ourselves if a coach can really coach three Parisian stars.

MNM, PSG’s attacking trio. (Icon Sports)

Against Reims, once again, MNM was disconnected from the game of Paris, which has not been very bright. And that resulted in some unusual mistakes from the trio, who were reluctant to defend, apart from Neymar who occasionally struggled to get back, and moved into midfield after Marco Verratti was sent off. The Brazilian, moreover, is the most motivated of the three MNM members. After rinsing, he came out at the end of the game.

The MSN precedent

Leo Messi could be a problem for Paris Saint-Germain. If he already gave the impression of losing interest in defensive tasks when he was at Barça, and a fortiori at the end of his adventure, his attitude cannot be disputed. The 2022 world champion, who has won absolutely everything, should at least be able to get back behind the ball when it is lost. Ditto for Kylian Mbappé, who has yet to have an Argentinian career.

However, these are the players who want to play everything, all the time. For the stats, because it is sacrilege to release a player from MNM when they are still scoring. Except when the goal is more to keep score than add a goal, that’s a problem. Christophe Galtier released all his midfielders first before grabbing one of the front three. And this is reminiscent of what Luis Enrique experienced when he coached MSN at Barça. In January 2014, when he benched Neymar and Messi against Real Sociedad, the Spaniard was on the verge of leaving. In the end he stayed on to win the treble.

MNM, PSG's attacking trio.  (Icon Sports)
Messi, Suárez, Neymar, Barça’s famous MSN (Icon Sport)

But coaching such players is a poisonous gift. They will take back what they gave you. Certainly, it is an opportunity to count in its ranks such players, who will gather millions of people behind their screen, to know that they can make a difference at any time. But MNM, like MSN, falls more on strong teams collectively, and knows their opponent’s weaknesses. And if not, ask Yunis Abdelhamid.

Galtier, feet and fists bound

Is there a miracle solution to change the mindset of some players? Nope. Few coaches in the world can send a clear and unmistakable attacking message like MNM. Pep Guardiola, Jürgen Klopp or… Zinedine Zidane. Coaches who have won everything, who have recognition in the football world and who – according to them – have legitimacy. A legitimate one, perhaps, that Thomas Tuchel, or Mauricio Pochettino or Christophe Galtier do not enjoy. The Frenchman has not yet failed, but he faces the same problems as his predecessors. To get things done at PSG, a coach needs to put his fist on the table. Sorry, a coach who can bang his fist on the table. Because if the same evils dragged on for many years in Paris, it is probably not only the fault of the coaches.

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