Paris Saint-Germain's unbeaten start to the Ligue 1 season is over after a 3-2 loss at home to OGC Nice on Friday but the defeat should not strike fear into Luis Enrique's side ahead of next week's UEFA Champions League kick-off at home to Borussia Dortmund (you can catch all of Tuesday and Wednesday's Champions League action on Paramount+). Les Parisiens went down by a goal at Parc des Princes to an impressive Aiglons side inspired by Terem Moffi who scored twice and assisted another, but it was not the same sort mediocre fare from PSG that we were used to under Christopher Galtier and Mauricio Pochettino before him.
First of all, Moffi continues to underline his status as one of Ligue 1's better attacking talents and delivered a superb two-goal display which gave PSG their first taste of a UCL-worthy opposition, more so than RC Lens and Olympique Lyonnais managed to do before the international break. Francesco Farioli's side remain unbeaten and were good value for their surprise win with an excellent tactical setup which succeeded thanks to some fortunate finishing of the chances that the Italian clearly factored into his gameplan.
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True, the French champions have made their slowest start to a domestic campaign of the entire Qatari era but there were signs that this team will evolve into something different to the previous versions which have ultimately fallen apart when it mattered most as the terms progressed. There were also some questionable PSG moments defensively too with Mbappe and Gianluigi Donnarumma both contributing towards Nice's opener through Moffi and Gaetan Laborde's second half effort was also highly avoidable from a Parisien perspective -- not to mention some generous deflections.
It is important to note, though, that two important figures since the start of the season -- captain Marquinhos and midfield enforcer Manuel Ugarte -- were absent from the starting XI while new signing Randal Kolo Muani only came on to debut for the final 25 minutes. Both should be restored to face Dortmund come next Tuesday and Goncalo Ramos is likely to find himself benched based on this evidence in order to give Mbappe, Kolo Muani and Dembele the time to gel that they clearly need outside of the French national team environment.
Despite that, though, this game was not in keeping with many of the other setbacks PSG have suffered in recent months and years with a different dynamic clearly taking hold and collective effort no longer in short supply as it was before. Such teething problems and needing time to develop chemistry is normal for a squad that was massively overhauled this summer after years of offering little tactically and collectively so it might not be the last blip as Luis Enrique seeks to implement his ideas and values.
"I am happy -- more than I was after Lyon," said the Spaniard after the game in the French capital. "I saw the players fighting until the final minute. We must all progress -- myself included. I appreciated my players' behaviour. I am happy with their performance. I cannot complain when you give me 100%. We need to progress, but I am not worried."
Victories over Lens and Lyon should not be forgotten in a hurry with PSG still dangerous going forward as evidence by Mbappe's pair of goals, which already has him on seven for the season just five games in -- of which he has only featured in four. Instead, Luis Enrique can be satisfied with the team ethic that he will be able to see taking hold within his group which ultimately will be more valuable than three points in a fledgling Ligue 1 season which has a long way to run.
Another year without a shot at an unbeaten campaign is a bit of a blow for PSG in terms of long-term objectives but reinventing the team culture was never going to be an overnight task and that record will consequently have to wait for another term. Waking the players up in time to start their Champions League quest in the best possible form against Dortmund and then being ready for Le Classique with bitter rivals Olympique de Marseille will be of major value if the Ligue 1 giants can win both.
For the moment, though, there is no need to sound the alarm bells as Luis Enrique gets to know his squad a bit better and sees more of his players in different scenarios before the life or death situations which more often than not put PSG down for the season. The Spanish tactician will understandably expect a reaction from his troops this coming week and it sets Dortmund and Marseille up perfectly to be two important games which require the performances and results to match.