It’s been a rocky couple of weeks for Paris Saint-Germain manager Thomas Tuchel and according to a report from L’Equipe, the German is becoming isolated at the club.
The French paper claims the trouble between Tuchel and his team began last season with the loss to Manchester United in the UEFA Champions League with several players unhappy with the way the manager played the players for the loss and didn’t take responsibility himself.
The fracture only continued with Tuchel’s treatment of Edinson Cavani, PSG’s all-time leading scorer, and a fan-favorite. The media outlet claims that the Uruguayan wasn’t happy with his 87th-minute appearance against FC Nantes recently where he embarrassingly missed an easy goal-scoring opportunity.
The latest incident that seems to have caused a rift is Tuchel’s treatment of Kylian Mbappé. The Frenchman was taken off by Tuchel in the 78th minute against Nantes and again in the 90th minute, which didn’t go down well with Mbappé at all. Tuchel has since said that Mbappé is not difficult to manage.
All of these incidents, according to L’Equipe, has led Tuchel to rely on his German-speaking staff and has distanced himself from the locker room. The paper also described a scene against Montpellier HSC last Saturday where away supporters insulted him throughout the match and when PSG finally took the 2-1 lead, Tuchel turned to them and visibly clenched his fits.
This isn’t the first time that a report like this has come out. L’Equipe (via Get French Football News) reported essentially the same thing last April.
I don’t think it’s breaking news that the PSG job is a difficult one. I’ve actually made the case that it’s the most difficult in the world before. Tuchel’s tenure so far has not lived up to expectations, primarily because of that result against Manchester United, and when you combine that with the Neymar Jr. transfer saga and Mbappé’s quest for more responsibility, it’s only natural for someone to be a bit stressed and make further mistakes but I don’t believe he’s recoiling away from his squad and only speaking German. On the contrary, I believe he’s trying harder than ever before to prepare the team and motivate them.
For example, Tuchel said that French is primarily spoken with some English used as necessary. He also has selected five captains within the team who he bounces ideas off of and who help him understand the pulse of the rest of the team.
In regards to the Manchester United loss, I do agree that he seemed to blame the players a bit for practicing too hard and being too tense, but when he says losing felt like getting hit by a car, it’s clear he was just as devastated as the players over the result.
You only have to look at training photos of the team to see that Tuchel is engaged and committed to getting the best out of every player. In fact, he recently said at a press conference that if everyone is healthy, he doesn’t feel that new players are necessary in the January transfer window. Wouldn’t he want new players if he was losing the dressing room?
Tuchel on upcoming transfer window: “If the squad is full in January, I do not think it will be necessary to buy anybody. If somebody wants to come, we will not say no. However, there is no need to push the president and sporting director to sign players.” #ASSEPSG
— Jonathan Johnson (@Jon_LeGossip) December 14, 2019
Finally, Tuchel’s name has recently come up in numerous rumors recently. Prior to joining PSG in 2018, the former Borussia Dortmund manager was contacted by FC Bayern Munich about their head coaching job. With that job open once again this season, if Tuchel was feeling isolated at PSG why wouldn’t he call up the German giants and submit his resume? Furthermore, if he didn’t want to go back to the Bundesliga, the Arsenal FC job is open and I’m sure the Gunners would hire him in a heartbeat.
It should be noted that L’Equipe and PSG have not always seen eye-to-eye with the club actually banning them from asking questions at a press conference in 2018. Recently, several L’Equipe commentators questioned Marquinhos for missing PSG’s match against Montpellier HSC due to the birth of his second child. They eventually apologized for those remarks.
L’Equipe du Soir, Olivier Menard et ses chroniqueurs présentent leurs plus sincères excuses suite aux propos déplacés tenus sur le forfait de Marquinhos pour le match du PSG ce soir.
La Chaîne l’Equipe souhaite à Marquinhos, sa femme et toute leur famille beaucoup de bonheur.
— L'ÉQUIPE du soir (@lequipedusoir) December 7, 2019
I’m not saying the reporting regarding Tuchel is incorrect, but there are no quotes from players or staff to back up the claim that Tuchel is isolating himself. There are no photos from behind the scenes or video clips showing him speaking German to his assistants. There are no internal email messages to back up this claim either.
It will be interesting if L’Equipe reporters ask Tuchel to his face on Sunday after the match against AS Saint-Étienne why he is isolating himself from the team. That’s an interview I definitely want to see live.
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