SINGAPORE — Paris Saint-Germain’s Lassana Diarra has insisted that he and his teammates will not hide behind the excuse of youth after a 5-1 International Champions Cup (ICC) defeat to Arsenal in Singapore.
Mesut Ozil gave the Gunners the lead in the first half, but Christopher Nkunku equalised with a second-half penalty and an Alexandre Lacazette brace followed by Rob Holding and Eddie Nketiah goals completed the scoring at National Stadium.
Speaking after the final whistle, Diarra admitted that Arsenal were close to full strength but saluted the PSG youngsters and their efforts.
“Arsenal had a good team that was not far from full strength,” the France international said. “We will not hide behind the youthfulness of our team, even if today’s side was very, very young.
“We must tip our hats to the kids and continue to prepare for the start of the season.”
Lacazette, who scored twice, was pleased with his performance as a second-half substitute but also recognised how young the PSG team was.
“I am happy,” said the France international. “I contributed towards my teammates’ win. I played well and scored. Although we conceded, it was still a nice evening.
“PSG were young, but they still had quality — that shows that they have a good youth academy. It was nowhere close to the PSG I am used to coming up against, though. Adrien [Rabiot] was their main man — he is a world-class player.”
Nkunku, who scored a short-lived equaliser for PSG, branded the result “anecdotal” and expressed his hope to earn more minutes this season with his preseason performances.
“The result did not count — it is anecdotal,” the youth academy graduate said. “We are working to find our rhythm.
“We know that we do not have all of our weapons yet and that we are working with a lot of youngsters who are still learning.
“I hope to play more this season, so we will see when the others get back.”
Alec Georgen, who started at right-back, called the result “a little shocking” but also feels the “progress” being made under attack-minded coach Thomas Tuchel.
“This was only the second preseason match,” said the homegrown 19-year-old. “It remains positive because we want to progress. Even if the result is bad and a little shocking, we feel good and like we are progressing.
“The coach is very attack-minded in his styles of play. We are getting to know his systems and how he wants us to play. We are far away from Paris and seeing so many of our fans here is nice.”
Of his future he added: “I do not know. I will finish preseason here. I want to impose myself on the team here but perhaps I will progress faster on loan. Only time will tell.”
Timothy Weah’s good ICC campaign continued as he won the penalty that was converted by Nkunku and the United States international does not want his teammates to dwell on the result.
“It is good to be here, coming up against big teams and getting experience,” Weah said. “Our side was quite young — there were some 16 year olds out there.
“We knew that it was going to be tough and the guys we were up against were all experienced, so we just have to keep working and not dwell on the result.”
Tuchel added that he feels that he needs defensive reinforcements before the transfer window closes.
“The defence is a very small group,” said the German tactician. “We must add players. If not, then I am afraid that we will put too much pressure on the shoulders of the current players.”
PSG will face Atletico Madrid in their final match in Singapore before moving on to Shenzhen, China, for the Trophee des Champions.
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