Thomas Tuchel has been fired by PSG, is has been confirmed, and Mauricio Pochettino is expected to be named the new head coach of Les Parisiens.
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That sound you can hear is Ole Gunnar Solskjaer exhaling, as Pochettino will land at PSG instead of Manchester United.
Tuchel has won back-to-back Ligue 1 titles, took PSG to the UEFA Champions League final last season and they won a tricky UCL group this season and they sit one point off the table of the table in France.
In many ways he has done all he can with this PSG squad, and it seems like Tuchel has been under pressure on many different occasions since he took charge in 2018. He was due to leave at the end of 2020-21 season when his PSG contract expired, but has now been fired on Christmas Eve.
PSG released the following statement on Tuchel’s departure:
“After an in-depth analysis of its sporting situation, Paris Saint-Germain decided to terminate Thomas Tuchel’s contract. ‘I would like to thank Thomas Tuchel and his staff for all they have contributed to the club,’ said Nasser Al-Khelaifi, Chairman and CEO of Paris Saint-Germain. ‘Thomas has put a lot of energy and passion into the job, and we will of course remember the good moments we shared together. I wish him all the best for the future.'”
As for the next man up, Pochettino played for PSG and always spoken fondly of his time in Paris and previously said coaching the French giant would be a ‘dream’ for him one day.
Well, Poch, that day has arrived. It is time to dig your beret out and wash down some escargot with champagne for a brief celebration before the hard work begins.
A report from Sky in Italy states that Pochettino was approached earlier this week by PSG and the final details in his contract are being worked out by lawyers.
What do PSG expect from Pochettino?
Ultimately, PSG want to win the Champions League. That is it.
They’ve won everything else in recent seasons under Carlo Ancelotti, Laurent Blanc, Unai Emery and Tuchel, but the biggest trophy their Qatari ownership want is to be crowned champions of Europe.
Pochettino worked wonders on a small budget at Tottenham, and he will now get the chance to coach Neymar, Kylian Mbappe and several other superstars.
With a very winnable game against Ronald Koeman’s Barcelona in the UCL last 16 coming up early in 2021, he has to make a deep run in the Champions League. PSG have likely acted now to boost their chances of that this season, and to nip in before other European giants try to sign up Pochettino between now and July.
One thing to keep an eye on: will the likes of Dele Alli and other players out of the picture at Tottenham want to sign for Poch? And what about his countryman, Lionel Messi? Intriguing when you start to connect the dots.
Can PSG’s stars play the ‘Pochettino Way’ and do they want to?
We know that Pochettino has a certain style of play. High-press. High-intensity. Total commitment.
Do we think Neymar and Mbappe will buy into this?
Maybe they don’t need to, but the other nine players on the pitch each week will have to work harder than they’ve ever worked before. Pochettino is a demanding coach who will ask his team to press high and be relentless.
Let’s see if PSG’s players are ready to do that, and if they’re not, they won’t last long under Pochettino.