If ever there was a case of the pendulum of perception swinging right the other way between a football match being announced and it being played, then Manchester United against PSG is it.
When the Champions League tie was drawn, in the cold and dark days of Jose Mourinho, it was a case of how many PSG could score. Would Neymar turn Phil Jones in enough circles to make the defender pass out with confusion? Would Marouane Fellaini attempt to clear the ball in his own area and instead kick Kylian Mbappe three feet in the air and give away a penalty?
It wasn’t positive for the English club.
But then Ole Gunnar Solskjær rode into town on his big white horse, left the ghosts of Jose slain, and everyone lived happily ever after.
Now, following injuries to Neymar and Edinson Cavani, and the Ole Show, there’s a lot of confidence around Old Trafford.
Inside their front cover on Tuesday, L’Equipe say ‘BUT YES, WE CAN’ and explain why it’s possible for PSG to get a good result at Old Trafford. What was once seen as probable is now simply possible, maybe the pendulum has swung too far.
Without their biggest star, it’s explained PSG will ‘have to find another way’ to turn off the atmosphere.
And, what’s more, Manchester United’s weaknesses are presented as pretty clear: ‘Tuchel, who says he has seen all of Manchester United’s matches since Solskjær came on the bench, is well aware that the Red Devils’ weakness is with their defence. Like everyone else, he noted that Manchester still conceded at least two or three chances per game, when not more, whether against Tottenham or Huddersfield, Arsenal or Bournemouth.
‘Even though Neymar and Cavani are cruelly missing, Angel Di Maria, Kylian Mbappe or Julian Draxler remain sharper attackers than Laurent Depoitre or Callum Wilson, unable to score with their situations against David De Gea.’
Finally the French newspaper make it clear that with VAR set to be used over the tie, there’s ‘no excuse’ for PSG this time and it’s ‘impossible’ for them to consider going out in this round.