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Disappointing Dembele, Mbappe the lone warrior, Enrique under the cosh – Key takeaways from PSG’s defeat to OGC Nice

Paris Saint-Germain’s return to Ligue 1 after the international break did not go to plan as desired as they suffered a 3-2 defeat against OGC Nice last night,

Despite Kylian Mbappe’s impressive double, a lack of collective effort let the capital giants down.

Les Parisiens had no answers to Nice’s star attacking duo of Terem Moffi and Gaetan Laborde, who wreaked havoc on the home side’s defence.

Moffi rose to the occasion with a stellar brace, while Laborde also scored one and set up another.

The defeat will send PSG into introspection about what went wrong and what needs to be improved ahead of their tough Champions League group stage campaign – they are pitted against Borussia Dortmund, AC Milan and Newcastle United in a so-called ‘Group of Death’.

Here are the key observations from their defeat to Nice.

Dembele has no end product, Ramos also lacking confidence

PSG believed they were getting a top-class player as good as Lionel Messi and Neymar when they splurged the cash for Ousmane Dembele, who also didn’t hesitate to complete his switch from Barcelona.

However, Les Parisiens have been taught a lesson that Dembele is not as good as the South America duo or his compatriot Kylian Mbappe.

For all his ambidexterity, relentless pace and dribbling skills, the lack of end product has long been considered his Achilles heel.

The fans at the Parc des Princes also witnessed it first-hand when he squandered two easy opportunities in the first half against Nice.

Dembele has failed to register a goal or an assist alongside Goncalo Ramos, which is an alarming situation as PSG have broken the bank to sign them this summer.

Ramos has not adapted to Ligue 1 and he looks a shadow of the player who shone at Benfica.

Both players need to improve their performances.

Kylian Mbappe, the lone warrior

Kylian Mbappe has repeatedly been the main man for PSG, and last night was no different.

The French talisman scored a stunning equaliser in the first half and also netted a brilliant volley at the death to revive the hopes of PSG fans about a possible turnaround.

However, his standalone effort went in vain as he lacked support from his teammates.

Mbappe has already netted seven goals in four games regardless of PSG’s overall struggles, and it also shows the gulf in quality between him and the rest of the squad.

The 24-year-old is likely to continue delivering the goods, but other key players also need to step up if PSG want to be a dominant force.

Marco Verratti’s departure will be a regret in hindsight

PSG are learning how big a void Marco Verratti has left with his departure to Qatari club Al-Arabi.

From day one, it became clear that PSG manager Luis Enrique was not counting on the Italian international, resulting in his expulsion from the Champions League squad.

Enrique tried to mitigate it by placing his faith in young talents in midfield, but the harsh reality is they are not Verratti.

This point was highlighted when Vitinha lost the ball in the defensive third, leading to a goal for Les Aiglons.

Although there is no doubt about the potential of Manuel Ugarte, Carlos Soler and Warren Zaire-Emery, Enrique should have stuck with Verratti, a tailor-made player for his style of play.

Pressure mounting on Enrique

After a quiet start to his managerial stint at Parc des Princes, Enrique appeared to have gained some momentum with back-to-back emphatic victories against Lens and Lyons.

However, the Spaniard has been forced to the drawing board again with the latest setback against Nice.

Enrique is struggling to instil his philosophy in the squad, and the players have not bought into his ideas.

The former Barcelona boss needs to turn things around quickly, with PSG up against Borussia Dortmund and Marseille next week.

Given PSG have landed a tough draw in the Champions League, it wouldn’t be a stretch to say that Enrique’s future depends on the outcome of the group-stage games.

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