Opinion: How it felt to attend PSG 1 United 2

Wednesday 21 October 2020 14:00

The tight streets around the Parc des Princes were eerily quiet.

When Manchester United were last in the French capital 19 months ago, they were met by boisterous scenes - the PSG ultras were in loud voice, with the flares and banners screaming out that this was a huge occasion.

This time, on Tuesday night, the difference was stark. 

Just as United kicked the game off, the 9pm curfew began. The streets, bars and restaurants of Paris were as deserted as the stands at PSG’s home. 

I will never get used to the silence.

Highlights: PSG 1 United 2 Video

Highlights: PSG 1 United 2

In October 2020, we once again beat PSG in France, thanks to goals from Bruno Fernandes and Marcus Rashford...

United worked so hard last season to ensure they’d get to hear the Champions League anthem booming out on nights like these.

The camera pans along the lines of both teams - the music plays, it seems “normal” until the final note and then… silence. 

We’re still conditioned to hear an almighty roar when the music stops and I hear it in my head, but the reality is just cold, stark silence. I’ll never get used to it. 

The sheer mind-blowing, eye-popping brilliance of United’s history-making win in Paris in March 2019 was always going to be a hard act to follow, but incredibly United managed it. 

In my view, this performance was superior to March 2019.

No-one could argue that United didn’t deserve the victory. A perfectly executed tactical plan, a goalkeeper in top form, an organised, no-nonsense defence and a fluid attacking display - all the boxes ticked. 

Plus, of course, it just had to be Marcus! 

It was the same weather, at the same end, in the same corner - his late winner had the lot. 

Tunnel Insider: How it felt to be in Paris Video

Tunnel Insider: How it felt to be in Paris

Stewart Gardner's Tunnel Insider podcast stars Peter Schmeichel and one of the few journalists in attendance...

This was a statement performance against an elite team that should mean the confidence is flowing for the tough games ahead - if United can win in Paris, the Reds can win anywhere.

Don’t forget, this result inflicted a first home group game on PSG in 25 matches. 

It was a team effort, yes, but you have to single out Axel Tuanzebe. His previous appearance was 10 months ago against Colchester United and, with respect to the Us, that was no preparation for Di Maria, Mbappe and Neymar. What a display against one of Europe’s best forward lines. It’s great to have him back and hopefully the young defender can finally enjoy a successful run in the team.

What a start to an incredibly challenging run of fixtures - and that’s now a club record 10 successive away wins.

Whatever comes next, we’ll always have Paris.

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