Thibaut Courtois Defends Role in PSG Defeat, Criticises Real Madrid Performance

Matt JonesFeatured ColumnistSeptember 19, 2019

Real Madrid's Belgian goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois reacts during the UEFA Champions league Group A football match between Paris Saint-Germain and Real Madrid, at the Parc des Princes stadium, in Paris, on September 18, 2019. (Photo by MARTIN BUREAU / AFP)        (Photo credit should read MARTIN BUREAU/AFP/Getty Images)
MARTIN BUREAU/Getty Images

Real Madrid goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois has defended his role in the team's 3-0 defeat to Paris Saint-Germain on Wednesday in the UEFA Champions League.

The goalkeeper was criticised by some for failing to save the opening goal of the game, which was scored by former Los Blancos star Angel Di Maria. Di Maria netted again before half time, with Thomas Meunier's late goal capping off an evening to remember for the Parisians.

Speaking about Di Maria's opener, Courtois said it was a tough one to save and suggested some of Madrid's outfield players should have done more to close him down, per Viasport (h/t Metro).

"The first goal he shot really strongly at the first post and I didn't have time to put my arm against it and the second was a great shot. But a guy with this talent, we have to maybe be a bit closer on the ball to not let that happen," said the Belgium international.

Here is the goal in question, with Di Maria able to find space at the near post to fire past the Madrid goalkeeper (U.S. only):

As Sport Witness relayed, Marca has been critical of Courtois in the aftermath of the PSG loss:

Courtois was disappointed with the team's overall performance after they struggled to cope with their hosts for long spells of the match:

"I think we have to get better at not conceding goals, I think sometimes we concede goals too easily. 

"In general, we defend with 11, we attack with 11 and we have to do that all game, for 90 minutes, and at this level, if for one second you are not present, they can score, and I think that's what we have to get better at.'

"[...] I think it was hard to defend them and as well to attack them. I don't think we created one chance on target. It's a hard night but we have to analyse when everyone is relaxed and think about what we could do better."

While there are clearly issues with the Madrid setup, Courtois continues to underwhelm for the La Liga side following his transfer from Chelsea last summer.

At his best, the 27-year-old can be a colossal presence at the base of the side. However, in his time at the Santiago Bernabeu, his play has been error-prone and indecisive.

Per ESPN FC, it's been a long time since Courtois has celebrated a clean sheet:

With Keylor Navas sold to PSG, Courtois is now the clear No. 1 at Real Madrid. Giving him that position represented a significant show of faith from manager Zinedine Zidane, especially considering Navas was in goal for the majority of the team's three successful Champions League campaigns during the manager's first spell.

There are systemic and tactical issues Zidane needs to solve at Madrid to improve the side. However, he also needs some key individuals to raise their games, Courtois being one.

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