Unai Emery Needs To Grow A Pair At PSG

You’d be forgiven to think that the only problems surrounding PSG would be how they deal with the Financial Fair Play (FFP) rules.

In the summer the Ligue 1 giants brought in two of the hottest names currently in the game in Neymar and Kylian Mbappe. They’ve won six out of six in the French top flight and they fired five unanswered goals past Celtic away in Glasgow on their opening Champions League clash.

Yet last night the Qatari owned side showed some disturbing cracks within their squad, even as they secured a 2-0 victory over Lyon at the Parc des Princes.

Forwards Neymar and Edinson Cavani had not one but two on-field disagreements regarding a penalty (which Cavani missed) and a free-kick.

Now it’s hard to keep egos in check during a football match. Neymar will believe that he deserves the right to take spot kicks as the club paid a world record fee for his services, while Cavani will believe that his record at PSG should be respected and his loyalty to the club’s cause should give him priority.

I don’t mind such arguments on the park, although it obviously doesn’t look good and the Brazilian giving Cavani some earache before a pen will provide an unnecessary distraction for the centre forward. It certainly can’t be allowed to happen often.

The thing I take exception to was PSG boss Unai Emery’s response to the incident after the game:

“The penalties are to be struck by a few players, one is Cavani and the other is Neymar,” 

“It takes a gentleman’s agreement on the ground to hit the penalties.”

The Spaniard gaffer then stated that if such an agreement can’t be made then he might have to make the decision himself.

For me, the decision should always come from the coach. Emery has to take the responsibility away from the players and take it upon himself to decide.

I don’t mind if Unai decides to rotate between the two or hold a competition between his stars every Friday but he has to make his mind up before game time and let his men know.

Both Neymar and Cavani have confidence in their own abilities and both want to get on the scoresheet whenever possible, so they’ll always believe that they should be the one taking the crucial set-pieces. So you cannot expect them to decide on who takes the penalties during the game itself.

You can just see them in an important Champions League tie and they need one goal to win it. Then in the dying seconds they get awarded a spot kick. The two will be scrapping for the ball and then the eventual winner of the scape misses the valuable penalty kick.

Unai Emery cannot afford to let the inmates run the asylum. It’s fine giving your team some added responsibility but it can’t become a distraction as that will cause problems and splits within the squad.

The Spaniard needs to show his troops that he’s the boss and his word is final.

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