Marco Verratti declared that Paris Saint-Germain is “left feeling p***** off” and has nothing to play for after Champions League disappointment and winning Ligue 1.
PSG cruised to a record-equalling 10th French top-flight title – only Saint-Etienne can boast as many – in April, while no player in Ligue 1 history has won as many championships as Verratti (eight).
However, Mauricio Pochettino’s side remains searching for an elusive Champions League crown, having been dumped out at the last-16 stage by a remarkable Karim Benzema-inspired Real Madrid turnaround.
Kylian Mbappe scored in either leg to hand PSG a 2-0 lead before Benzema delivered a second-half hat-trick at the Santiago Bernabeu to stun the visitors and reopen fresh Champions League wounds.
Meanwhile, since securing the title, PSG has thrown away two-goal leads in consecutive games, allowing Strasbourg and Troyes to share the spoils on both occasions.
Verratti vented his frustrations after the stalemate with Troyes as he acknowledged finding motivation is difficult with the league already in their hands.
The Italy international told Amazon Prime Video:
“There is a bit of frustration. But, I think these are matches where you have to have fun.
“It’s about winning and playing well as a team.
“We are in one of the quietest moments of the season because there is no pressure. We have to have fun.
“When you are free in your head, you can enjoy it even more.
“I’m a little frustrated about that. We’re coming to the end of the season, and we always come out of games feeling p****** off. It’s not what you dream of at the end of the season, especially when you are already champions.
“I honestly think that we could do much better with our team. In difficult times, we could be better. However, when we are suitable as a team, we manage to take more pleasure from those matches.
“It was a tough season. Even if we are champions, it was tough at the start of the season.
“We won a lot of matches late on.
“That means we have great character because we’re still there two minutes from the end to score a goal.
“But I think we could be better as a team.
“It’s true that we changed the team a lot with several rookies. It is not an excuse, but it’s the truth.
“It’s difficult to create a big group when you change a lot. You have to take the good things of this season and try to build on them for next season.”
Whether Pochettino stays in charge for the next campaign remains to be seen, with reports in France suggesting Zinedine Zidane as a potential target if he is not waiting until after the 2022 World Cup to take Didier Deschamps’ job with France.
Whoever is at the PSG helm, Verratti knows it will take another sizeable effort next year to reset and attempt to banish the Champions League demons.
“We fought hard against Madrid and did 150 minutes very well.
“We won the championship, that’s good, and I think there’s not much missing.
“Everyone has to give more so, in the end, we can say: ‘OK, we have no regrets, we gave everything, they were stronger.
“We do have this little regret. We had a dream in the Champions League. If you reach the semi-final, you can find yourself in the final, having played two games well. Madrid walloped us.”
Likewise, for more football news like this, click here.