Herrera was at the top of the PSG assessment graph even as the surrounding midfielder struggled with workload covering the trio of attacks all stars
With Lionel Messi, Neymar and Kyian Mbappe in their ranks, Paris Saint-Germain may have three largest parts of the world. But for all their wealth for attacking talent, it was a largely unparalleled midfielder who had never scored a double number in one season during his career which led their judgment chart.
Ander Herrera was tied with Mbappe on four goals for this season and well on track to destroy the best of eight eight, achieved while playing with Manchester United in 2014-15. He captured the next five seasons and only managed nine in five of the following campaigns before 2021-22 began.
Indeed, because PSG worked hard to a 1-1 Champions League draw with Club Brugge on Wednesday, it was Herrera who broke the deadlock, set the time to run into the box perfectly to meet the cross of Miuricio Pochettino lead.
Brugge quickly and rightly squared game, but without the opening of Herrera, the situation can be much more important.
“They may not continue the ball to us in training, but I really enjoy playing with Messi, Neymar and Mbappe,” he joked to El Larguero after the World Cup winner had taken him in the middle of the week.
Indeed, talking to Marca, he put a goal goal running before the player.
“Maybe now, have so many top players in front of me, our opponents are reluctant to attack the midfield and it’s a good thing for me,” he said.
“But beyond that, the explanation is that this is how football can work. The ball came to me and I used it.
“Don’t be shocked when this order stops because it’s not normal!”
Apart from the strong Herrera assessment, he and his PSG midfielder have found themselves as a target of criticism after the Brugge Draw club. They cannot overcome the energy and tenacity of their Belgian opponents, cannot maintain ownership and lack of vivacity to win it again.
The former Manchester United man accepted that having a trio attacking PSG in front of him would change his role and from the people around him.
“Cracks are the people who are there to make a difference and win the match and we must be in their services,” he explained. “But if we ask them to do a difference in attacks, we cannot ask them to run 13 kilometers per game. You can ask me, Gini Wijnaldum, Idrissa Gueye or Leandro Paredes. Not for them.”
And this is where criticism has found the scope of attacking PSG midfield after the midweek draw. While Herrera covered most of anyone in Paris, topping 11km, the second player was Neymar.
Acquired by both Paredes and Wijnaldum were transported on the break after hitting the first half show, but the clear implication was that it was the Spaniard who held a joint midfield.
It was also very clear for anyone who watched the match how important the PSG midfield contribution was the success of this club. In Brugge, it was destroyed by the mercy of the tempo set by the host.
Some diseases suffered by PSG in the meeting will be resolved by Gueye’s return, which is prohibited in the middle of the week, and Marco Verratti, who breastfeeded a calf injury was maintained with Italy and could return when Manchester City traveled to Parc des Princes on September 28, but was Challenges that Les Parisiens must be prepared.
However, without a functioning midfield, three will starve ownership because they are in mid-week and their destination is expected to score will not arrive.
While the three front PSG will be the people who won the headlines with their aim, the Brugge experience underlines that the team needed to win the match.
Herrera will, of course, stop scoring in the end but when he shows this is not what he and his midfield partner is on the team. They were there to provide a platform for Messi, Neymar and Mbappe to develop and unless they could start doing it, the aspirations of the PSG Champions League will remain unfulfilled.