Westham United manager Slaven Bilic says he will use Barcelona’s stunning UEFA Champions League victory over Paris Saint-Germain to educate his own players.
The manager was among the millions who watched on as the Spanish giants overturned a 4-0 Round of 16 first-leg deficit by winning 6-1 at the Camp Nou, scoring three goals in the final seven minutes to complete a remarkable comeback.
While the vast majority of viewers and pundits focused on Barcelona’s unforgettable performance, Bilic says he would also use the French side’s implosion as an example.
“Of course I watched it,” he confirmed. “It has to put a smile on your face because it was about everything that football is all about – the quality and the great goals.
“We are always talking about that ‘it’s never over’ and yesterday was the best proof of that. We saw the quality of the Barcelona players and, on the other side, we saw top Champions League players with so many games in their career behind them crumble under such an amount of pressure in the last few minutes. It was unbelievable.
“It’s a great game to use in talks with your players on both sides. You can talk about Barcelona and also about Paris Saint-Germain and all that. It was an unbelievable game to watch.”
It’s a great game to use in talks with your players on both sides. You can talk about Barcelona and also about Paris Saint-Germain and all that
Bilic was asked how he would have acted if he were in the shoes of PSG manager Unai Emery, who watched his team allow Barcelona overturn a historic deficit to progress to the quarter-finals.
The former Sevilla boss admitted afterwards that his team had been the architects of their own downfall, making mistakes for each of Barcelona’s opening two goals and conceding two penalties – the second a controversial award in added time which Neymar converted to make it 5-1 – while failing to maintain possession when they did have the ball.
“The only thing you can do in the last few minutes is to make a change,” he observed. “The games like that usually start a little bit slowly and all that, but then when the game comes, that pace, mayhem, whatever you call it, is very difficult to stop.
“You need your leaders on the pitch to show their characters to stand up and to stop it, if you are Paris Saint-Germain, or do what Neymar did if you are Barcelona.”