Unai Emery, PSG Players Reportedly in 'Heated Exchange' over Tactics

Rory MarsdenFeatured ColumnistOctober 3, 2016

Paris Saint-Germain's Spanish head Coach Unai Emery gestures during the UEFA Champions League Group A football match between Ludogorets Razgrad and Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) at Vasil Levski National Stadium in Sofia on September 28, 2016.  / AFP / NIKOLAY DOYCHINOV        (Photo credit should read NIKOLAY DOYCHINOV/AFP/Getty Images)
NIKOLAY DOYCHINOV/Getty Images

Paris Saint-Germain's top players reportedly debated their style of play with manager Unai Emery last week and backed a return to the possession-based game they played under former boss Laurent Blanc. 

According to L'Equipe (via French football writer Jonathan Johnson), captain Thiago Silva led the discussions, while Thiago Motta, Blaise Matuidi, Maxwell and Javier Pastore also all backed a return to further valuing possession:

Former Sevilla manager Emery succeeded Blanc at the Parc des Princes in the summer and has enjoyed a mixed start to his PSG tenure, with the defending champions currently third in Ligue 1 following five victories, two defeats and a draw.

His side bounced back from a 2-0 defeat to Toulouse to win 2-0 at home against Bordeaux on Saturday, but they are still four points behind league leaders Nice after eight games.

Edinson Cavani continued his excellent goalscoring form against Bordeaux as he netted both PSG's goals, per BT Sport Football:

Without the Uruguayan striker, PSG would likely be in a much worse position than they are at the moment.

Emery was expected to implement a 4-2-3-1 formation at PSG upon his appointment, per Bleacher Report's Sam Tighe:

While he started by setting his team up that way, PSG have reverted to the 4-3-3 system they played under Blanc recently, reportedly at the request of some of the top players, per Canal+ (via Johnson):

Emery was brought in to change things up at PSG after Blanc was jettisoned for failing to get past the last eight in the UEFA Champions League, per the Guardian

Given that, reverting to his predecessor's preferred formation seems something of a regressive move from Emery and, if it was a result of player pressure, hints at unrest in the PSG dressing room.

PSG have more than enough quality to win Ligue 1 at a canter again this season despite dropping early points.

However, the main aim in 2016-17 for the French giants is to go deep in the Champions League, and to do that Emery will need to find a system that gets the full potential out of his players.

It will be difficult for him to do that if PSG's players are not open to change.

Emery has European pedigree having won three UEFA Europa League titles in a row with Sevilla, and the PSG players need to trust that he knows what he is doing if they are to avoid another disappointing season in the Champions League.