Seventeen years after leaving him as a player, the Argentine will join PSG as a coach.
Mauricio Pochettino, the return. If the news is not yet official, the former coach of Tottenham is called, according to multiple sources, to take over from Thomas Tuchel at PSG. A “gift”, swears Luis Fernandez, who knows him by heart for having coached him in Paris and Espanyol, and a “dream” for the main interested, as he explained in 2016 on RMC. The dream will therefore come true, the Tuchel fuse having blown four months after the final lost in the Champions League. And this while Paris qualified (in pain) for the 8es of final C1 while the head of Ligue 1 is only one point.
“Today, football waits for no one,” Pochettino railed in 2018. Fired a few months after a C1 final lost in 2019, the 48-year-old Argentine technician paid the price for this impatience. The end of a five-and-a-half-year tenure at Tottenham (2014-Nov 2019), also marked by a second place in the Premier League and a League Cup final. Five and a half years which will have allowed him to build over time and to put his foot down by accommodating the invasive personality of President Levy. Builder, determined but diplomat.
Recipe ? The one he had already applied in his two previous clubs, Espanyol (Jan 2009-Nov 2012) and Southampton (Jan 2013-May 2014). Work, hatred of defeat and passion. For him, there is only football and his family. “You cannot be a coach if you are not passionate”, he said in 2009 to illustrate his hard work, he who began to cherish the dream of training at the age of 27-28, right at the time. where he joined Paris-SG as a player. It was in January 2001. He will be the rock and the captain for two and a half years (95 games, 6 goals).
“He was a leader, someone invested, a great guy, very smiling, very warm, remembers, for the channel L’Équipe, Eric Rabesandratana, who met him at PSG. With his character and his way of being, I think the message is getting across to the players. And it’s true that the players love him. Iron hand in a velvet glove. Demanding in training as in a match, requiring perpetual efforts and in the four corners of the field, he does not give a gift. Strong head. “He makes you work like a dog. Sometimes you want to kill him, but it works, ”said Osvaldo, his Espanyol and Saints striker. With an overcrowded infirmary in Paris, Pochettino may have to wait a bit before pushing his new players so much. However, he can immediately get down to erasing their “mental fatigue”. “The main function of a coach is to manage and stimulate the emotional, motivational part of the players,” he explained in recent years, he who is known and recognized for helping young people progress, like his “little one. Harry Kane. At Tottenham, he grew the stars. In Paris, it will be more a question of guiding experienced players to the top. Pochettino will therefore have to change gear, he who has never won anything as a coach.
Parisian pressure and the “extreme expectations” that go with it, dixit Tuchel, should not however scare him. If the PSG of the early 2000s was not what it has become today, the former Argentina international (22 caps, 2 goals) has the advantage of knowing the house and nurturing “a real feeling belonging “to the club, as indicated by another former PSG, Juan Pablo Sorin, welcoming” a clear style of play, the personality and the human relationship (which he maintains) with the players “.
“What a footballer’s legs! “
A modern coach, keen on tactics and good play, bottle-fed Marcelo Bielsa, the man who knocked on his parents’ door at 2 am in 1987, asking him … to show his legs. “What a footballer’s legs! Exclaimed Bielsa, then right-hand man of Jorge Griffa, director of the Newell’s Old Boys academy, according to Pochettino’s account for El Mundo. The future coach of PSG was 13 years old, he who was going to serve as a roommate for a few weeks with Diego Maradona, his “idol”, within the Rosario club. “This is how our relationship began,” he adds, he who played under the orders of “El Loco” at Newell’s, Espanyol and in Argentina.
“He’s a genius,” he said of the former coach of OM and Lille, the tactical connections – structure, construction from the rear, pressing on all floors – between the two men being clear. The emotion that they like to share and that they also make a way of life. “Marcelo was more of an inspiration to make the decision to coach than to really follow his method or his philosophy, corrects Pochettino. I wanted to build something unique to me, innovative, and unique to me. And this is also what attracted the bosses of Paris Saint-Germain. Winning bet?