by SCOTT TAYLOR
When a manager comes into a new role, it normally brings a sense of hope, positivity and optimism, but for Unai Emery, his honeymoon period as PSG manager is well and truly over before it has even begun.
The former Sevilla coach, 44, has found life in Paris tougher than expected with football, the global language, being the harder task to master rather than speaking French.
PSG suffered their second defeat in four away games on Friday, which means the Champions have now lost as many games as they did in the entirety of last season, despite only playing seven games.
The negative press surrounding the French Champions is not just a learning curve for Emery, who as many remember, failed to win a single away game at Sevilla last season.
Following almost five years of nothing but success, the Qatar Sports Investment are now realising what it is like to be going through a ‘crisis’, after strolling to 13 domestic honours under their ownership.
QSI’s contribution has obviously been a positive one, but is their tremendous success their own downfall, with the board and fans expecting trophies year on year?
When managing a European club of Paris Saint-Germain’s stature, there is no such thing as a transition period, not even for Emery, and the fans reminded him of this the defeat at Toulouse on Friday.
A lacklustre performance against a youthful side showed that the pressure is still firmly on Emery to perform with his side sitting fourth in Ligue 1, four points of the leaders Nice.
However, it is not just the PSG manager who is finding trouble filling the huge boots left by a triumphant successor.
Despite topping the Ligue 1 scoring charts with six goals from seven games, Edison Cavani is beginning to sense the difficulty of ‘replacing’ Zlatan Ibrahimovic, and not just with his goals.
Last season, PSG would have had little trouble overcoming Toulouse, and no doubt Ibrahimovic would have led his side to victory, with his captaincy just as effective as his goals, but not this year.
It seems whenever Cavani pulls on a PSG shirt, he is feeling the expectation of the legacy left by Ibrahimovic, and is sensing that he must score at least two or three goals EVERY game.
There is no issue with the service he is being given, as he adjusts to his new role as the club’s main striker, with several excellent chances wasted, and if they went in, well, you wouldn’t be reading this article.
Some may argue that Emery cannot help that his players aren’t performing on the pitch which may be a valid point, but his decisions off the pitch isn’t helping himself or the team.
Let’s start off with Exhibit ‘A’, Hatem Ben Arfa. After a miserable ending to his Premier League career, the attacking midfielder was rejuvenated at Nice and earned a move to the French Champions.
However, Emery dropped him from the matchday squad for four games citing attitude and fitness problems as his downfall, something that didn’t go down too well with his team-mates or the press.
The last thing anyone wants to do is attract more limelight on themselves when they are managing a team well known around the world, unless you’re Sam Allardyce of course.
The unrest caused by the whole saga has intertwined with results on the pitch, and now it seems Emery must field a strong side at minnows Ludogorets to dig his side out of trouble.
The word trouble has been the story of PSG’s season so far, and it’s something that tends to follow Serge Aurier around.
The Ivorian full-back, who ironically signed from Toulouse, was sent off against his former side on Friday night before being hit with a two-month jail sentence after elbowing a police officer.
The latest incident comes just seven months after the defender was suspended after using homophobic language to then coach Laurent Blanc, and with Thomas Meunier out with a knee injury, the problems continue for Emery.
After a frantic opening to his PSG career, Emery will be hoping that his tactical style of play, something that landed him the job in the first place, will soon be the topic of conversation.
What hasn’t helped Emery is the job done by Laurent Blanc, and fans must realise that PSG are just four points off the top of the table, with 31 games still left to play, and their still in the Champions League.
However, for the atmosphere to change, Emery needs results now. It has got to a stage where players such as Cavani and Di Maria have to play against Bulgarian minnows Ludogorets in what is PSG’s biggest game of the season. Oh how things have changed.