Mauricio Pochettino: How did the era of Argentine Paris Saint-Germain begin?

Mauricio Pochettino may only have taken over Paris Saint-Germain in January, but the Champions League quarter-finals with Bayern Munich already seem like a fundamental competition for the Argentine, so how has the former Tottenham manager so far at Parc des Princes. ?

In many ways, Pochettino looked like the obvious favorite to replace Thomas Tuchel when the German was fired by Paris Saint-Germain and the French champions were third on the table just before Christmas.

The 49-year-old was not only available after leaving Tottenham in November 2019, but was also a former celebrity player in the French capital, where he represented the club from 2001-2003.

This popularity only increased when Pochettino almost immediately led Paris Saint-Germain to a 2-1 victory over fierce rival Marseille in the 2020 Champions Cup, the French equivalent of the FA Shield, the first title in their 12-year career. as a coach.

Meanwhile, in February, Pochettino led one of Europe’s most memorable performances, a stunning 4-1 win over Barcelona that helped prepare for Wednesday night’s Champions League quarter-final match with Bayern. , the team that Tuchel beat the Cup in August.

However, so far it has not been easy for the new man in Paris, with Pochettino already overseeing four defeats in his first 14 games in charge, while Saturday’s 1-0 loss to leader Lille was the third in a row for him. Paris Saint. -Germain. at home.

As French soccer writer Tom Williams explains, the new coach has yet to make an impact on the team.

“Their record so far has been a mix of very good (beating Barcelona in the first leg, defeating Lyon 4-2 before the international break) and very bad (losing 3-2 to struggling Lorient). Losses at home to Monaco, Nantes and Lille ”.

image:
Mauricio Pochettino (center) and the Paris Saint-Germain players celebrate after beating Marseille in the Champions Cup

“The success of the Champions League against Barcelona, ​​and especially the way they won the first leg at the Camp Nou, earned him a lot of credit.AND But he still doesn’t seem to make his mark on the team.

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“Paris Saint-Germain still seem like a talented group of people, not the right team, and that was precisely their problem with Tochel.”

Like most new coaches do, Pochettino has made some tactical adjustments, ditching the 5-3-2 setup Tochel established at the end of his tenure for the brand’s 4-2-3-1 system, while also having some changes to the system. team.

The success of the Champions League against Barcelona, ​​and especially the way they won the first leg at Camp Nou, earned him much of the credit, but he still doesn’t seem to have made his mark on the team. Paris Saint-Germain still seemed like a talented group of people, not the right team, and that was precisely his problem with Tochel.

Tom Williams, French soccer writer

Williams says the end results weren’t always convincing.

“During Neymar’s recent absence due to injury, Pochettino tried to take Marco Verratti to the 10th round and had some success, especially in the 4-1 win over Barcelona,” he said.

Captain Marquinhos has returned to the role of preferred center-back, often playing as a midfielder under Tuchel, and Abdo Diallo has joined the team as a left back.

“Pochettino also helped Kylian Mbappé to rediscover his best form. But despite some brilliant moments, there is still a lack of coherence in the way PSG play with and without the ball, which was noticeable in Saturday’s loss to Lille.

Ultimately, however, it will be how Pochettino achieves the best of his global forwards that will determine his success on his return to Paris.

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“One of Tuchel’s main failures as coach of Paris Saint-Germain has been that he has struggled to get the most out of Neymar and Mbappé for a long period of time, and that is one of the main challenges that Pochettino faces. Williams says.

If he can convince these two to run and pressure the opponent’s defenders like Harry Kane, Dele Alli, Hong Min Son and Christian Eriksen did during the best years of Tottenham’s management, then PSG would be a truly terrifying proposition.

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Mauricio Pochettino, Tottenham Hotspur manager, takes a look at the Tottenham Hotspur UEFA Champions League Group B match between Tottenham Hotspur and Cervina Zvezda at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on October 22, 2019 in London, UK.  (Photo by Brian Lennon / Getty Images)



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French soccer journalist Jonathan Johnson said Mauricio Pochettino’s priority at PSG will be to win the Champions League.

But Unai Emery and Tuchel tried the same thing, and eventually they both succeeded.

All of this makes this month’s Champions League quarter-final clash with Bayern Munich, which takes place at the Allianz Arena on Wednesday night, critical for Pochettino.

He won it and not only will he avenge last season’s 1-0 loss to the Bavarian team in the final, but he will also be one step away from the Holy Grail in relation to the owners of Qatar’s Paris Saint-Germain, and they will get their hands on Europe. The first club competition.

The loss and all the questions about Pochettino not winning the (main) titles will come back, and that’s before we start talking about his Ligue 1 defense.

When the former Tottenham manager took over earlier this year, Paris Saint-Germain finished third in the table, and although they are currently second, three points behind leader Lille, they are now only two points ahead of fourth-placed Lyon with There are seven games to play in the campaign. championship.

Given the amount of money the owners have invested in the team, it would be nothing short of a humiliation if Paris Saint-Germain lost the Ligue 1 title.

Tom Williams, French soccer writer

Thus, there is little room for error in the preliminary round for Pochettino, and although he was only assigned an 18-month contract, with an option for one more year, mid-season, he was unable to retain the title. French league. That would lead to serious questions being asked of the new coach.

Given the amount of money the owners have invested in the team, it would be nothing short of a humiliation if Paris Saint-Germain lost the Ligue 1 title.

“The competition is fierce, with Lille and Monaco in particularly good shape, but Paris Saint-Germain has one of the most closely packed teams in the history of the game.

“Paris Saint-Germain expected, each season, to win the Ligue 1 title as an absolute minimum. They did not succeed only twice in the QSI era, once in the first season after the arrival of the Qataris, when they lost. ” They went out to Montpellier, and once, in 2016-2017, when they were filled in by an exceptional team from Monaco.

Mauricio Pochettino suffered his first defeat as coach of Paris Saint-Germain in LorientMauricio Pochettino suffered his first defeat as coach of Paris Saint-Germain in Lorient
image:
Mauricio Pochettino saw Paris Saint-Germain lose at home on Saturday night for the first time in a quarter of a century.

“Pochettino has the credit in the bank for his past connections with the club and the fact that he only arrived in the middle of the season, but if he loses the title it will only fuel accusations that he has some kind of blind spot when it comes to leading. teams to win trophies.

Being a Paris Saint-Germain team, not getting your hands on the great player will ensure they stay on the job.

“Of course, if Paris Saint-Germain ends up winning the Champions League this season, all will be forgiven. But Tuchel was fired just four months after leading Paris Saint-Germain to the UEFA Champions League final for the first time in history, which shows that, as far as the club’s owners are concerned. Even continental achievements do not guarantee immunity. “

View from France: Paris Saint-Germain face Mbappé’s dilemma

Neymar and Kylian Mbappé have two years to go through their current agreementsNeymar and Kylian Mbappé have two years to go through their current agreements
image:
Neymar and Kylian Mbappé’s current agreements with Paris Saint-Germain ended in the summer of 2022.

Recent reports in France claimed that Neymar had reached a prior agreement with Paris Saint-Germain until 2026, with the club now focused on securing a similar agreement with Mbappé.

However, as Williams explains, while the Brazilian forward seems keen to remain at Parc des Princes, his long-term attacking partner’s future seems less certain.

“It seems likely that Neymar will commit to his future at Paris Saint-Germain in the near future,” he said. Mbappé’s situation is less clear.

The French international admitted in January that he was “thinking” about his future and with his contract expiring in 2022, Paris Saint-Germain could face the choice between losing him for free next year or cashing in the money, to the best of their ability, right? ? The financial climate, this summer.

Follow the Champions League quarter-final first leg matches between Bayern Munich and Paris Saint-Germain through our live blog dedicated to Sky Sports digital platforms.

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