After an agonizing wait, Mauricio Pochettino was officially named as the Paris Saint-Germain manager on Saturday, replacing the outgoing Thomas Tuchel who was sacked a few days prior.
Pochettino signed with PSG through June 30, 2022, with an option for an extra year, and much is expected of the former Tottenham Hotspur manager in that time frame. As with every manager who comes to the French capital, the bar is set high and patience is thin. Fans, especially those who visit this site to wager on matches, want the club to win and play attractive football.
With that in mind, here is my wish list for Pochettino as he settles in at the Parc des Princes.
Fix the Offense
Here’s the problem. Kylian Mbappé went a year without scoring a UEFA Champions League goal. That can’t happen. This season, PSG has gone scoreless against Olympique de Marseille, Olympique Lyonnais, and Lille OSC, the three clubs they’re battling with at the top of Ligue 1.
When you have the attacking talent that PSG has, it’s not acceptable to struggle so mightily on offense. Pochettino’s job will be to figure out how to get the most out of Mbappé, Neymar Jr., Angel Di Maria, Moise Kean, and Mauro Icardi.
« Dans un grand club comme celui-là, il n'est pas seulement important de gagner. Il faut gagner bien sûr, mais avec la manière. »
Mauricio Pochettino a exposé ses ambitions pour les prochains mois.
— Paris Saint-Germain (@PSG_inside) January 2, 2021
Manage PSG’s Superstars
Before his dismissal, Tuchel complained about the “politics” at PSG and now that he’s gone, it’s Pochettino’s problem. At Tottenham, he didn’t have players who were global superstars like Mbappé and Neymar, so this will be new for Pochettino. How he handles the ego’s in the dressing room while also getting the most out of them on the pitch will determine if his tenure is a success or failure.
Win Ligue 1
This may be a bit ridiculous considering PSG has been crowned Ligue 1 champions seven of the past eight seasons. However, Les Parisiens sit in third place behind Lille and Lyon, and as I discussed earlier, PSG has struggled against the top French clubs. Pochettino will need to get reacclimated to the French game (played for PSG from 2001-2003) and string together results. His first big test will come on February 7, against Marseille at the Orange Vélodrome.
Win the Champions League
Look, if you’re going to sack a manager just four months after he led your club to the finals of the Champions League, then the new guy has to win the damn thing. PSG essentially has the same team they had last season, if not better, and if they can stay healthy, they’re one of the favorites to win the competition. We’ll find out quickly if PSG has what it takes to win their first Champions League trophy on February 16, when they go to the Camp Nou to face Barcelona in the Round of 16.
Contract Extensions and Transfers
Leonardo, PSG’s sporting director, will handle the contract extensions for Mbappé and Neymar as well as any transfers in January. However, how Pochettino gets on in Paris will have a huge influence on whether a player like Mbappé wants to stick around in the French capital or not. He’ll also have his say in the types of players he wants in January as well as who to sell. Leo will make the final call but Pochettino’s fingerprints will be all over the biggest decisions when it comes to building PSG’s squad.
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