Christophe Galtier conceded his Paris Saint-Germain players may have underestimated Chateauroux in their Coupe de France clash on Friday.
PSG ultimately won the tie 3-1 at Stade Gaston Petit thanks to late goals from Carlos Soler and Juan Bernat, but their third-tier opponents had given them a tough battle until then.
With no Lionel Messi, Neymar or Kylian Mbappe, PSG relied on 20-year-old Hugo Ekitike to fire them in front early on, before Natanael Ntolla equalised prior to half-time via a deflection off El Chadaille Bitshiabu.
Late pressure finally bore fruit for Galtier’s side, though, as Soler and Bernat both struck, and the PSG head coach was just happy to be through to the last 32.
“There is the satisfaction in being qualified,” he said. “Games like this are difficult. The start was in line with what I expected, with the opener. Afterwards, my team was cut in two and that gave Chateauroux a lot of hope.
“Did we think things were going to be easy? Maybe.”
It’s over! 3-1 win for the Parisians in Châteauroux and qualification for the round of 16 of the!
— Paris Saint-Germain (@PSG_English)
The former Lille and Nice boss made seven changes to the team that started the 3-1 loss at Lens last time out, including teenage trio Ismael Gharbi, Bitshiabu and 16-year-old Warren Zaire-Emery.
Although it took the introduction of Sergio Ramos and Fabian Ruiz in place of Bitshiabu and Gharbi just after the hour for the visitors to take charge, Galtier was pleased with the performances of the youngsters, having anticipated a tough night with several first-team players missing following the World Cup.
“I was satisfied with the young players,” he said. “They were serious and on pace. I really liked Ismael in the game. Warren was of a good level. El Chadaille was unhappy [about the goal against].
“I expected a complex game with the absence of many players and the different states of form. We will see which ones we will recover for Angers [on Wednesday].
“Teams that have had a lot of players at the World Cup are struggling to restart at the start of the year. We will quickly have to refocus on the objectives.”