- Paris Saint-Germain has hired Mauricio Pochettino as their new head coach replacing Thomas Tuchel.
- Pochettino played for PSG from 2001-2003 as their captain and helped the club win the 2021 UEFA Intertoto Cup.
- Pochettino makes his managerial debut on January 6th against Saint Etienne in Ligue 1 action.
Paris Saint-Germain opened the new year with a new head coach.
In an announcement, the club said that it had signed Mauricio Pochettino to a contract until 2022 with an option for an extra year. This will be Pochettino’s first managerial job since he was sacked by the Tottenham Hotspur in November 2019.
Welcome Mauricio Pochettino ? pic.twitter.com/sMXDA7p5Hh
— Paris Saint-Germain (@PSG_inside) January 2, 2021
PSG chairman and CEO Nasser Al-Khelaifi said in a statement:
Not a Surprise
PSG sporting director Leonardo has SLAMMED coach Thomas Tuchel over his transfer demands ???
“I did not like the statement of the coach Tuchel. I don’t understand it and I did not like it. The club did not like it. We will see internally [about a punishment].”
— Goal (@goal) October 3, 2020
Tuchel was appointed by Antero Henrique, who preceded Leonardo as sporting director. Tuchel and Leonardo never saw each other eye to eye. They argued on many things on many occasions, both in private and in public. Most recently, the two fought in the summer about player transfers.
Tuchel wanted Germany international Antonio Rudiger of Chelsea but Leonardo preferred a defensive midfielder and signed Danilo Pereira. To make his point, Tuchel made the unnecessary and childish move of playing Pereira at centre back. By October, Leonardo told media that Tuchel’s actions and attitude were damaging for the club. From then on, everyone knew that Tuchel’s time at PSG was ticking away.
It didn’t help that Paris Saint-Germain lost Ligue 1 home matches against Marseillie and Lyon for the first time in over a decade. Neither did the fact that the team was just third in the league table on Christmas Day. PSG displayed tremendous character to get through the Champions League Round of 16 but that didn’t erase the fact that they played poorly throughout the tournament. All summed up, it would have been impossible not to see Tuchel’s firing coming.
Pochettino Ticks All Boxes
In January 2001, Mauricio Pochettino signed for PSG.
20 years later, he’s returning as manager ? pic.twitter.com/C1o3VRvTop
— B/R Football (@brfootball) January 2, 2021
As a player, Pochettino signed for the team in 2001, helped them win the UEFA Intertoto Cup that year and played until 2003. He was the club’s captain and he built a strong relationship with the city, and the fans. Even if he played in only two seasons there, Pochettino is well-loved and respected. He has also said in the past that he wanted to return to the Parc de Princes as manager.
Unlike in Tottenham, Pottechino won’t have to do a rebuilding job at PSG. Although he will have less money to spend here than his predecessors, Pochettino has a very talented team at his disposal. He has two of the sport’s top superstars on board, a bunch of great youngsters, and veteran players like Di Maria.
He speaks French, English, and Spanish which are the three languages needed in the PSG locker room. Pochettino also has a clear identity when it comes to his coaching, as he emphasizes counterpassing and verticality. He also has a political side which gives him a strong personality which can handle scrutiny. With all these, he ticks all the boxes for PSG.
?? Mauricio Pochettino arrived in Paris ?? on New Year’s Day to take charge of #PSG ahead of his Ligue 1 debut against Saint-Étienne ⚽. https://t.co/ZmKoN2RV2X
— AS English (@English_AS) January 2, 2021
And so Pocchetino spent the first day of the New Year in Paris, where he will have a few days before leading PSG back to action as they move forward in this next chapter. Paris Saint-Germain defeated Strasbourg 4-0 in their last league match. The French Ligue 1 is currently on Winter Break and Pochettino will make his managerial debut against Saint Etiene on January 6th.
The Les Parisiens are currently the betting favorites to win their new head coach’s debut. At the online sportsbook SportsBetting.ag, PSG is currently a -270 odds on favorite against Saint Etiene who are listed at +580, with the odds of a draw pegged at +390 in the 1X2 odds market.
Saint Etienne heads to this Stade Geoffroy Guichard showdown with only the 14th best record in France at four wins, six draws, and seven losses. They have scored a total of 18 goals on the season with 11 assists while allowing 25 scores on the other end of the field. Meanwhile, Paris Saint-Germain is third in the Ligue 1 standings with a record of 11 wins, 2 draws, and four losses. The Paris Saint-Germain defense has only conceded 10 goals this season while its offense has put up 39 goals.