MANCHESTER, England – Publicly at least, Mauricio Pochettino is happy To Paris Saint Germain and not distracted by the possibility of managing Manchester United, but you never would have guessed it from his pained expression on the sideline during the 2-1 defeat of his team in the Champions League To Manchester city.
Goals in the second half of Rahim sterling and Gabriel Jesus, Following Kylian MbappéPSG’s opener was enough to win the match and Group A to City, who could have won by more. At times Pochettino looked like the manager of a team struggling to avoid relegation rather than a coach in charge of one of the favorites to win this season’s championship. Champions League.
This defeat will not change the prospects of qualifying for PSG in Group A, with RB Leipzig5-0 win over Club Brugge confirming the French club’s place in the round of 16, but the defeat dooms Pochettino’s side to second place and the prospect of a tough draw against a group winner like Liverpool Where Bayern Munich in February.
That in itself will be seen as a failure by demanding PSG owners, and Pochettino’s job security will not be helped if the club are knocked out in the knockout first round, but for now at least he’s happy that the team’s coach and owners are not ready to release him from the last 18 months of his contract to take over United. The results will dictate how long Pochettino and PSG stay at their current positions, but the way the team played against City hasn’t really dampened speculation that all is not well at Parc des Princes.
PSG are as rich as any club in world football, they have an 11 point lead at the top of Ligue 1 and have the most dazzling attack line of the match with Mbappe, Lionel messi and Neymar. But something is clearly not right between Pochettino and his all-star squad, and that’s why friends of the 49-year-old are telling whoever wants to hear it that the Argentine is open to the prospect of replacing Ole Gunnar Solskjaer at Old. Trafford.
Sources told ESPN that Pochettino has not moved to Paris – he still lives in a hotel, away from his London-based family, 11 months after replacing Thomas Tuchel in the PSG hot seat – and that he is increasingly frustrated by the lack of collective unity from top to bottom at the club. Football players and coaches are usually willing to ignore off-pitch issues if everything is going well on the pitch, but that is not the case at PSG.
Pochettino has always been a coach who demanded certain principles from his players. They have to work incredibly hard without the ball and they have to be prepared to function as a unit, helping out in unfamiliar areas of the pitch if needed.
And this is where Pochettino’s problem in Paris lies: his players just aren’t working hard enough, individually or collectively, and his three superstars Messi, Neymar and Mbappe all seem to believe that follow-up is just what they do. ordinary gamers. In the 90 minutes, the Pep Guardiola City players covered a total of 111.7 kilometers. PSG only covered 105.3 km, so they were literally overtaken by their opponents.
Messi, Neymar and Mbappe had their moments where their quality disrupted City, nothing more than when Messi’s deflected pass saw Mbappe score the opening goal in the 50th minute. But there were also times when PSG were forced to defend with eight players as the three of them stayed away from the defensive zone, sometimes with their hands on their hips, waiting for the infantrymen to retrieve the ball and release them on a counterattack.
On more than one occasion, Pochettino displayed a look of quivering anger, arms tightly crossed, in the technical area as his defenders were exposed by his attackers. For a trainer who had Harry kane, Son Heung-Min and Lucas Moura ready to chase lost causes and fall deep to Tottenham Hotspur, it will hurt a lot to see his PSG attackers leave it to everyone.
At Spurs, however, Pochettino had a group of ambitious young players ready to respond to any of his requests and instructions. They bought into his idea and his personality, and Spurs almost won the Champions League because of it.
At PSG, players don’t seem to have the same respect – or fear of – Pochettino, and his frustration is also confirmed by his inability to get his point across. As an experienced coach, he knows his senior players only integrate what they want to hear rather than what they don’t want to hear. And that is why, ultimately, the cracks will be wide open.
If the big stars of PSG underperform, it will be Pochettino who will pay the price, but the club will also lose.
Maybe it would be better for all concerned if Pochettino and PSG accept that this doesn’t really work and let him discuss his future with United and PSG hire a manager who has already won Champions Leagues with a team full of big egos. Zinedine Zidane, maybe.
But right now, of course, Pochettino is happy and so are PSG. We just need results and performance to prove it.