Why Tuchel Is Qualified to Lead Paris Saint-Germain

With Paris Saint-Germain reclaiming their position at the top of Ligue 1 this season, the club waves goodbye to the Unai Emery-era. After a less than stellar end to the 2017-18 campaign, the club is now ready to usher in what they hope is a bright future with Thomas Tuchel at the helm. An out-of-the-box hire, it doesn’t come without critics. The German tactician has all but one trophy on his resume after all. Regardless of his lack of silverware, it doesn’t deteriorate his ability to lead Les Parisiens.

After PSG’s loss to Real Madrid in the Round of 16 of the UEFA Champions League, it became clear that Emery would not return. Rumors swirled about who might take his place, many of which have had plenty of success domestically and in Europe. However, PSG went away from those splashy names. In Tuchel they’re bringing in a somewhat proven, but still not a significant name in the world of football. With only a DFB-Pokal title in his cabinet, the argument remains that he’s not qualified to take over a club with serious ambitions to win the Champions League.

Trophies Don’t Tell the Entire Story

Trophies are beautiful objects. Managers can display them and hold them up as a token of their labor. Nonetheless, it’s not the end all and be all to judge a manager (Ed’s note: Arsène Wenger went 10 years without a trophy and was still lauded as one of the best managers in the game).

Tuchel has shown he can get the most out of a bottom table club FSV Mainz, where he led the club to a UEFA Europa League appearance. When it came time to manager a big-time club in Borussia Dortmund, the 44-year-old showed he was up for the task. Before hiring Tuchel, Dortmund finished with 46 points during the 2014-15 season. Once he took over, the Black and Yellows saw a turnaround, finishing with 78 points during the 2015-16 season.

In his second season, Tuchel would get his first taste of Champions League football. Under Emery, PSG’s preparation for European matches on the road against significant competition was abysmal. The team has crumbled in hostile environments and under performed woefully.

Tuchel has shown he’s different. Although the sample size is small, he went into the Santiago Bernabéu Stadium and led Dortmund to a draw, which helped in securing a first place finish in the group and advancement to the Round of 16. Tuchel’s first appearance in the Champions League is an indicator that he can hold his own even after the executives at Dortmund allowed Mats Hummels, Henrikh Mkhitaryan, and İlkay Gündoğan to leave.

Domestically, Tuchel had success, trophy wise, in his final season at Dortmund as he captured the German Cup. Before the win over Eintracht Frankfurt, the standout win came in the semi-final against FC Bayern Munich at the Allianz Arena. Apart from losses to Real Madrid, Bayern rarely suffers defeat at home. For Tuchel to go in there and get a victory shows how prepared he can be before a big match.

Dortmund ending the season with a trophy displays how Tuchel handles adversity. After their squad was a target of a bomb attack, Tuchel didn’t allow for the season to spiral out of control. Some may scoff at a German Cup victory as not being a big accomplishment but it’s how Tuchel did it that’s important. To get his players to regroup after a terrible experience shows how he can overcome any challenges that are thrown his way.

Handling the Personalities in Paris

Another criticism is that Tuchel might not have what it takes to manage PSG’s star-studded dressing room. Past managers have either given into the player’s demands or handled adversity poorly. At Dortmund, there were two high-profile personalities: Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Ousmane Dembélé.

In Aubameyang, Tuchel was able to get the most out of his striker in his two-year stint. Over the past two seasons, the Gabon international scored 59 goals in the Bundesliga. Aubameyang attributes Tuchel’s mentality as the reason why he was able to get the best out of him. To his credit, Tuchel stood up for the current Arsenal striker when he came under scrutiny, which shows that if a superstar performs, Tuchel will be there to defend them.

Dembélé is another talent that flourished in Tuchel’s system. Like Aubameyang, the 21-year-old resonated with his manager’s ability to trust him in crucial situations, allowing for him to get the best out of the Frenchman. Dembélé registered 6 goals and 12 assists in his lone season with Dortmund. After Tuchel’s departure, the former Stade Rennais F.C. winger would cause an uproar to force a transfer to FC Barcelona where he hasn’t quite lived up to expectations due to injuries.

Earning the trust of his superstars is vital for Tuchel at PSG. Some reports say that the German has already met with Neymar Jr. There’s no disputing the connection Tuchel has with his star players. It’s his greatest asset. Building chemistry with the dressing room and being on the same page will allow for Tuchel to get off on the right foot as he looks to guide PSG to their first Champions League crown.

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Tags Thomas Tuchel Unai Emery
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