Pochettino leaves PSG: Paris Saint-Germain still a poisoned chalice but failure need not define ex-Spurs boss

By Sports Desk July 05, 2022

Well that was all a bit forgettable, wasn't it?

Mauricio Pochettino is no longer Paris Saint-Germain head coach after the two parties agreed to part ways.

The club confirmed their parting on Tuesday, with former Lyon and Nice coach Christophe Galtier expected to come in as his replacement.

It was an appointment that excited many and seemed to promise much, given the fine job the Argentine had previously done at Tottenham.

But as it transpired, Pochettino simply became the latest in a succession of top-class coaches to fall short of PSG's ultimate goal: winning the Champions League.

Frankly, when rumours of Pochettino's departure began to swirl in June, few would have been surprised. In reality, he's looked close to the brink for most of his 18 months in charge – some might even suggest he's lucky to have lasted this long.
 

Success tempered by failure

Let's not forget, the mighty PSG were pipped to the Ligue 1 title by Lille in the 2020-21 campaign, a few months into Pochettino's reign. His brief time in charge clearly wasn't seen as much of an excuse given there were reports claiming his job was already under threat by April 2021.

Talk of a potential return to Tottenham surfaced and then evaporated as PSG seemingly opted to stand by him, with the fact he got them to the Champions League semi-finals potentially showing there was a reason for optimism.

And then there was the connection with fellow Rosario-native and boyhood Newell's Old Boys fan Lionel Messi. Keeping Pochettino around surely couldn't do any harm with respect to helping the six-time Ballon d'Or winner settle in Paris.

While Pochettino can't solely be blamed for Messi not hitting similar heights to his Barcelona days, it's fair to say their connection has proven only anecdotal.

Of course, Pochettino does depart having won three trophies, including this season's Ligue 1 title. But at PSG, that is not even the bare minimum these days if good progress isn't made in Europe.

Were it not for Karim Benzema's almost superhuman exploits in the Champions League this season, who knows how far PSG would have gone?

They were 2-0 up on aggregate thanks to Kylian Mbappe's brilliance, but then Benzema took over. His 17-minute hat-trick in the second half of the second leg turned the tie on its head, and Madrid went on to enjoy similarly great escapes against Chelsea and Manchester City before beating Liverpool in the final.

Maybe that could have been PSG, but instead they were dumped out in the round of 16 for the fourth time in six seasons. The writing was on the wall for Pochettino.
 

A risk-free move or thankless task?

Joining Manchester United seemed to make sense as they stepped up their search for a permanent replacement for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, but Erik ten Hag was ultimately the chosen one, robbing PSG of an easy solution to their problem.

It might be going too far to suggest Pochettino's reputation hasn't been damaged by a lack of (European) success and finishing second in Ligue 1 last season. After all, he has arguably underachieved – but in the context of PSG since the takeover, which coaches haven't?

Former PSG boss Carlo Ancelotti has now won the Champions League twice since leaving the Parisians. Unai Emery took Villarreal to the semi-finals this season. Thomas Tuchel won the competition with Chelsea just a few months after being shown the exit.

While the point isn't necessarily that PSG were wrong to let Ancelotti leave or get rid of Emery and Tuchel when they did. Rather, Pochettino's inability to end the club's Champions League wait needn't define him or colour his reputation.

Pochettino will likely still be sought after the next time one of Europe's biggest clubs is on the look-out for a new head coach, because to succeed at PSG is arguably one of the toughest tasks in football.

Sure, they sit on a pit of money and it seems like they enjoy a clean sweep of the domestic trophies most years, but the gulf to the rest of Ligue 1 is generally so massive that there's a degree of PSG almost being underprepared when heading into European competition.

Perhaps Pochettino was wrong to take the job in the first place. Given their tendency to throw money around with little regard, placing greatest importance on big-reputation signings, there was always likely to be an element of the club being mismatched with a coach whose teams are typically hard-working. But he'd have seen it almost as a free pass.

Ironically, PSG have now insisted they are looking to change their ways, and move away from "bling-bling" signings. Even the possibility of Cristiano Ronaldo potentially becoming available is reportedly not interesting them. We'll see how long that lasts, though.

PSG is a poisoned chalice, but as Pochettino's predecessors have shown, failure at the Parc des Princes needn't be his ruin. It's Galtier's problem now.

Related items

  • Rumour Has It: PSG in talks with Manchester United forward Rashford Rumour Has It: PSG in talks with Manchester United forward Rashford

    Paris Saint-Germain have been open about wanting three more new signings before the transfer window closes.

    PSG head coach Christophe Galtier also explained that among those was the desire to bring in a forward.

    The French champions have already sealed the services of Renato Sanches, Nordi Mukiele, Hugo Ekitike, Vitinha and Nuno Mendes during the off-season.

    TOP STORY – PSG IN TALKS WITH MAN UTD'S RASHFORD

    PSG have opened talks with Marcus Rashford's representatives about joining the Ligue 1 club from Manchester United, according to L'Equipe.

    The England international striker is contracted with United until 2023, having signed a four-year deal in 2019 with the option to extend by a further year.

    Sky Sports, however, claims that PSG are unlikely to follow up on their initial interest, having first enquired about Rashford last week.

    ROUND-UP

    Manchester City are targeting Atletico Madrid's Brazilian Renan Lodi as they look to add a new left-back, according to The Telegraph. City want to bolster their options in the position following Oleksandr Zinchenko's departure for Arsenal. City are also considering Arsenal left-back Kieran Tierney, claims 90min.

    – Foot Mercato reports that Italian champions Inter are looking at Nice defender Jean-Clair Todibo as a possible replacement for Martin Skriniar, should he leave. Todibo also has interest from PSG and Chelsea . Inter have also been linked to Borussia Dortmund's Swiss defender Manuel Akanji along with Lazio veteran Francesco Acerbi.

    – Chelsea's Emerson Palmieri is drawing interest from both Nottingham Forest and Atalanta, according to the Evening Standard. The 28-year-old left-back is being squeezed out at Stamford Bridge following Marc Cucurella's arrival.

    Napoli and Argentina international forward Giovanni Simeone have reached a verbal agreement, reports Sky Sport Italia. Simeone is set to join Napoli on loan from Hellas Verona, but Sky Sport Italia claims Juventus are prepared to poach him at the last minute.

  • 'We would like to extend his stay here' – Leicester boss Rodgers hopeful over Vardy deal 'We would like to extend his stay here' – Leicester boss Rodgers hopeful over Vardy deal

    Leicester City manager Brendan Rodgers confirmed on Thursday that the club is working on a contract extension for 35-year-old Foxes icon Jamie Vardy.

    Vardy arrived at Leicester back in 2012 and has since racked up 164 goals in 386 appearances for the club. Only Arthur Chandler (273 goals), who played from 1923-35, and Arthur Rowley (251 goals from 1950-58) have scored more for Leicester.

    The former England striker has now registered seven consecutive Premier League seasons with at least 13 goals.

    Vardy is in the final year of his contract, but Foxes boss Rodgers is optimistic he will sign another deal.

    "[Vardy's] appetite is still there," he said. "We would like to extend his stay here and that's something the club and his representatives will look at.

    "Jamie thrives on balls into space behind the defence, and if there is no space, he thrives on low crosses into the box. It is as simple as that. If we can do that more, there will be opportunities for him and other players."

    Vardy, who missed nearly four months last season with hamstring and knee injuries, will turn 36 in January.

  • Kostic expresses gratitude to Eintracht ahead of Juventus move Kostic expresses gratitude to Eintracht ahead of Juventus move

    Filip Kostic has expressed his gratitude to Eintracht Frankfurt ahead of his move to Juventus.

    The Serbia winger is on the verge of completing his switch to Juve, ending a four-year spell with Eintracht.

    Kostic helped the Bundesliga club win the Europa League last season and has played more games (167) and started more matches (161) than any other player for the club since his arrival from Hamburg.

    The 29-year-old says Eintracht will always have a special place in his heart.

    "THANK YOU Eintracht Frankfurt for believing in me when no one else did!" he posted on Instagram.

    "I would like to say a heartfelt thank you to the club, all the wonderful people who work at the club, the team-mates, the coaches, the management, the fans and the whole city for making my stay at the club and in the city unforgettable.

    "Eintracht fans, thank you for supporting us every game. We bled together for the colours of the club, you in the stands and us on the field.

    "Together we managed to write club history by winning the Europa League. Thank you for all the love and support you have given me.

    "We wouldn't have made it without you. I will carry you in my heart forever."

     

© 2022 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.