An important player was hiding in PSG's 6-1 loss to Barcelona – Emery

Barcelona PSG 2017 Champions League

Former Paris Saint-Germain head coach Unai Emery has relived the “worst moment” in his managerial career by talking through his side’s 6-1 loss away to Barcelona in the Champions League, explaining that he felt one of his critical players went missing during the second half of the encounter.

PSG went into the last-16 second-leg match following a 4-0 win over the Catalans at home but collapsed in spectacular style at Camp Nou, conceding three times in the final three minutes as they were eliminated from the competition in historic fashion.

While Emery has lamented the handling of the encounter by German official Deniz Aytekin, he claimed that one of his “important players” checked out mentally.

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Pinpointing a half-hour spell during the second half of the encounter, the former Sevilla boss explained to EFE : “In that period of the game, I saw that an important player for us, who had had problems during the week, was hiding himself away. Perhaps I should have changed him. Those small things are what can see a game slip away from you.

“Then there is another key thing: the Barca players, especially Luis Suarez, kept on diving in the box, putting lots of pressure on the referee until he fell for it.”

The match is also remembered for Edinson Cavani missing a big chance to put the game out of sight, but it was decisions such as a penalty overlooked for a foul on Angel Di Maria and a soft free-kick awarded as Neymar that made it 4-1 that Emery has especially lamented.

“I would change the referee from that game,” he added. “There are many details in that match you can analyse. But I would change the referee and that's it.”

Emery left PSG at the end of the following season and spent the 2018-19 campaign at Arsenal, where he failed to win the faith of the club and was ultimately sacked after a seven-match winless run in November 2019 to be replaced by Mikel Arteta.

Since then, the 48-year-old Spaniard, who has also coached Lorca Deportiva, Almeria, Valencia and Spartak Moscow, has been out of work.