Kanoute questions PSG: ‘Big players don’t necessarily make a big team’

Edinson Cavani Kylian Mbappe PSG Real Madrid Champions League
The former Lyon, West Ham, Sevilla and Tottenham striker believes the Ligue 1 side lacked experience compared to Real Madrid, but praised Unai Emery

Former Ligue 1 and Premier League striker Frederic Kanoute believes Paris Saint-Germain’s cadre of stars don’t necessarily make for a great team, while also hailing the work of under-fire boss Unai Emery.

The Ligue 1 giants spent heavily this past summer, first landing Neymar from Barcelona in a record €222 million deal and then Kylian Mbappe from rivals Monaco.

The reinforcements were supposed to propel PSG beyond their last-16 stumbling block, but instead they were defeated once more at that stage with Real Madrid being the latest team to perform the honors.

Blame has naturally fallen at the feet of Emery, but Kanoute, a former Lyon, West Ham, Tottenham and Sevilla striker, thinks the club are still a work in progress, even if they can roll out a star-studded XI.

“PSG have built their team with a lot of stars lately but they need a moment of stability to become a big team,” Kanoute told Goal . “Big players don't necessarily make a big team. A strong institution is needed, a club with a philosophy, something which is rooted in the system.”

Specifically, Kanoute points to a lack of big-game experience from the squad, especially when compared to Real Madrid, who are in the hunt for their third straight Champions League crown.

“But I can say that in the pitch, they need to be more realistic,” Kanoute said of PSG. “When they played the 1st leg in Madrid, Paris may bite their fingers because they could have get a better result. Real Madrid was the exact opposite — few opportunities but they were very realistic.

“It's called experience. PSG players have also experience in the Champions League, but those from Real Madrid have experience as a team.”

Kanoute also praised Emery, citing his visits to Sevilla training while Emery was manager as evidence the under-fire boss knows what he is doing.

“Actually I like him,” Kanoute said of Emery. “Sometimes I visited my former teammates in Sevilla. When there were training sessions, I used to watch them and he has this intensity, this engagement with the team. He's 100 per cent in his work!

“He's a real passionate and we have to admit it. I love passionate coaches and it's one of them.”

However, Kanoute doesn’t believe PSG is a place where Emery’s tactics can shine through, since the number of star players present heavily influence the way the team is capable of playing.

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“Tactically, I like it very much,” Kanoute added. “At PSG he plays with extraordinary players so there's no really space for tactical things, it comes after the rest.

“It's true that, as a PSG coach, it doesn't boost you in terms of tactics because you know that, at the end, you've got players who will make the difference.

“I wish he could be my coach.”