Too whole and not political enough, the German technician ended up exhausting all his credit in Paris.
“A great challenge, a great challenge,” Thomas Tuchel would have said. This is what awaits his successor announced on the bench of Paris Saint-Germain, Mauricio Pochettino. Aged 48, the former Argentina international (22 caps, 2 goals) has the advantage of knowing the red and blue house. But in the early 2000s, when he played there for two and a half years under Luis Fernandez (95 matches, 6 goals), the capital club was far from having the dimension it has today. … It was among other things this glass ceiling that Tuchel encountered on the banks of the Seine. Because to be a coach at PSG, you have to be more than a good or very good coach. It’s just a prerequisite. Moreover, Tuchel has all the attributes of an outstanding coach, a leading tactician and an absolutely brilliant football spirit. But that is not enough. Not here.
And as such, the real-fake interview of the Bavarian with the German media Sport1, last Tuesday, is particularly illuminating. “I just love football. And in a club like this, it’s not always just football, he regretted. Some days you think to yourself, “It could be a lot simpler than that. It was just a change. Why has this been the topic for two weeks now?” I say to myself: “I just want to be a coach”. ” The former strongman from Dortmund unfortunately took the wrong place.
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Because in Paris, there are “extreme expectations at the club and in its environment”. Expectations that must be understood. Between the stated objective of a coronation in the Champions League and a Ligue 1 that does not make the Parisian stars dream with regard to the level of competition, the club’s performance is not judged with nuance. It’s all white or all black. Fair, not fair, that is not the question. You have to get used to it.
Perhaps the native of Krumbach did not have the tools to do it, he who has no appetite to talk, justify himself to one or the other and manage the escapades of such and such a superstar. He is there to train, for the field, for the game. And only for that. “During the first semester, honestly, I asked myself: ‘Am I still a sports coach or politician, Sports Minister? Where is my role as a coach?” “He said again in this interview which looks very similar to a drop of water that broke the camel’s back of Nasser Al-Khelaïfi, Leonardo and company, from Boulogne-Billancourt to Doha. Although, according to some sources, his fate had been sealed for a while.
What used to happen with Antero doesn’t work anymore with “Leo”
Misunderstandings and unspoken words that helped push Tuchel to his limits, to wear him down, to make him crack. And to oppose head-on to his leadership, to the club, and finally also to Doha. If he could afford certain things with the previous sporting director, Antero Henrique, Leonardo made him understand that he had no interest in titillating him too much at the start of the season, reframing (very) curtly the person concerned during ‘a surprise press point. To be whole is a quality. Especially since the former modest defender turns out to be often right on the merits. Knowing how to handle the art of diplomacy is also an asset. However, Tuchel seems to consider fingering as a form of compromise. It cannot last forever in a context like that of Paris-SG. Especially when your team is struggling and the results don’t follow, the players are falling like flies and the quality of play is close to nothing, as in the first period against Lorient (2-0).
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Add to this new criticisms of the institution (“A club like PSG is crossed by many influences which go far beyond the interests of the team”) and the fact that Mauricio Pochettino was not going to remain free forever , and you get an explosive cocktail. Even if you only have six months of contract, even if a dismissal is not, in terms of cost (7 M €?), Frankly good news for the accounting department of a club which is already largely and heavily affected by the economic crisis.
Forever the first
Charge to Mauricio Pochettino to avoid falling into the same traps as Thomas Tuchel. The whole question is whether it is possible or not. Because expectations are indeed “extreme” on the banks of the Seine. May be too much. Especially for a coach who has never won anything and who will quickly realize that being an officer on the Tottenham bench is not the same as doing it in Paris. Tuchel, he missed his appointment with the City of Light. At least he burned his wings there, like Unai Emery and the others before him. With more success on August 23 on the Lisbon side, the course of history might have been different… In the meantime, history, it is he who wrote it, with his players. This group is and will remain the first to have played in the final of “Champions’” in the red and blue tunic, after having made a clear round on the national scene as a bonus in 2019-20 (L1, the two cups and Champions Trophy). Which is not nothing, whatever one says about it.
Will Pochettino do as well? Better? One thing is certain: he is in a good position to know what it is like to be sacked a few months after a lost C1 final. He lived it in 2019, in Tottenham. Somehow, it’s a form of continuity, as if it picks up where it left off. If possible by changing the gear and being both firm but more flexible than its predecessor in certain points.