Christophe Galtier was grateful to have Lionel Messi back as the World Cup winner scored in Paris Saint-Germain’s 2-0 win against Angers on Wednesday.
The Argentina captain made his first appearance back for his club since lifting the trophy last month, and with PSG only leading 1-0 against Ligue 1’s bottom club after Hugo Ekitike’s early goal, Messi made the game safe in the 72nd minute as he ran onto a pass from Nordi Mukiele before finishing into the bottom left corner of the net.
Speaking after the win, Galtier thanked the fans for their celebration of Messi’s achievement in Qatar, despite Argentina beating France in the World Cup final.
“Thank you to our supporters for welcoming him in the way that they did. That means a lot to him. Our fans also got behind him when the game was difficult,” the PSG head coach said.
“Messi has recovered well. He has had quite a few training sessions back with us now. He seemed lighter and in very good physical shape.
“Of course, the team is different with and without Messi. He also scored an important goal for us tonight and we all know that he loves scoring goals, he is the sort of player who needs goals.
“I spoke to him at half-time to see how he felt and he said he felt good… It is important to have Messi back at the heart of our game. The fact that he played 90 minutes is even better.”
Galtier also explained why he opted for a 3-4-2-1 formation, emphasising the importance of his team being able to show flexibility as they extended their lead at the top of the table to six points following Lens’ draw with Strasbourg.
“It was for this game, based on how we prepared,” he said. “I felt it was not going to work in the way we had prepared. I also spoke to my players and my staff in terms of our options, and we took a different one.
“The team performed very well in this system at the start of the season in big games. That is how it went tonight. It is important for a team like Paris Saint-Germain, for my players, and also, for me and the staff to have options, as well as the ability to switch from one system to another.”