PSG gamble on Pochettino. But will it pay off for them?

It is fairly recent news that famed football manager Mauricio Pochettino has taken the helm as the head coach of Paris Saint-Germain, also known as PSG. Although there are many questions surrounding this appointment,  the key question to be asked is whether Pochettino’s high press, teamwork and unit based tactics be a good fit with this PSG side or will its main players such as Mbappe and Neymar struggle to adapt into his playing style? With only 12 days since his appointment, its too early to answer this question but early indications are promising with PSG have played 3 games drawing the first against Saint-Étienne in a somewhat lacklustre performance, a somewhat more appealing 3-0 win against Brest who sit in a mid-table 11th and Pochettino’s first trophy in charge lifting the Trophee des Champions by beating Marseille 2-1 yesterday. 

While Pochettino’s first game may have seemed like a poor result and performance from the outside looking in, if you look into the game analytically and especially through video analysis you can see signs of Mauricio’s plan coming into place. You can see this through the transition from a 4-3-3/4-5-1 formation to the 3-1-5-1 formation that brings in a diamond shape at the back with the defensive midfielder key in allowing a quick build-up and counter-attacking phase of play to take place. Even though this may have not worked in the first game, it was a promising sign of things to come.  In his second game in charge against Brest, there was more proof that it does work and that there may be a bright future ahead for PSG. This should allow them to continue their recent dominance of the French football league system and maybe even beyond this with success in European competitions a priority.

With one of the two centre backs moving into a defensive midfielder role when PSG have the ball, it offers more to the attack.

Key to Pochettino long term success at the club is that has to develop the already brilliant and deep PSG squad that he has at his disposal, as well as to make additions that will be able to fit into his tactics and ethos. This  should ensure that he has a hard working, high-pressing well-oiled machine that will be able to use his tactics as well as their individual flair to become the dominant team in any given match. Not just domestically in France but also continentally within Europe. It is well known that ‘Poch’ as he is affectionately known by many football fans, is a successful, versatile and technical manager with one of his greater achievements being Tottenham’s 2018-2019 UEFA Champions League’s run to the final in which they were runners up to fellow Premier League giants Liverpool FC.

“I am really happy and honored to become the new coach of Paris Saint-Germain. I would like to thank the Club’s management for the trust they have placed in me. As you know, this club has always held a special place in my heart. I have wonderful memories, especially of the unique atmosphere of the Parc des Princes. This team has fantastic potential and my staff and I will do everything we can to get the best for PSG in all competitions.

Mauricio Pochettino on becoming head coach of PSG, Jan 2021.

It seems that Mauricio has a plan for PSG and as an ex-player and a person highly respected by everyone involved within PSG (whether its a player, coach or fan), he is sure to be given the best chance execute against his plan. It is extremely likely that all the players will be listening and following his orders with a laser focus and that this will be a project and something for everyone to believe in. This could make an already brilliant and dominant club become an even bigger, and by the sounds of Pochettino’s plan; powerhouse of European football and an extraordinary dominant side for many, many years to come.

But for now we will just have to wait and see how the partnership of PSG and their new coach Mauricio Pochettino works. It will be very interesting to see; and all football fans will be sure to keep a keen eye on his work and success with the club. Especially fans of Tottenham, many who were and still are of the belief that he is a brilliant manager and should have been more time at the club primarily due to the improvements and forward strides he made while manager.  PSG are a completely different club though, and due to this they are a very tough club to manage because of their focus on success, both nationally and domestically. They aim to be a world class side at all times and anything less than that is unacceptable. We will see if Mauricio has what it takes or if he falls foul to the early axe and the tough life of a manager into today’s football industry. It will also be interesting to see what signings are going to be made for the club under new management. With the start of the January transfer window, this will be a good opportunity to gain insight into Pochettino’s intent and we are hoping to see some exciting and unexpected signings for PSG before February 1st 2021 when the window closes.

Post by Samuel Cox, Back Of The Net contributor. Follow him on Instagram and Twitter.

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Atletico La Liga Victory Parade On Hold Due To Travel Issues

Atletico celebrate their first title in 18 years (Image from AP)Imagine waiting a long time for something and then not being able to do it due to bad planning. Well that’s exactly what Atletico Madrid are going through right now. The new la Liga champions, who secured their first title in 18 years, are being forced to wait until the start of next season to get their hands on the trophy because Spanish football president Angel Maria Vilar was travelling. Some would say its bad timing given the significance of Sunday’s title decider. But others may feel that it’s a deliberate snub by a man who is rumoured to have grown up as a Real Madrid fan. In any case, it is a black mark against the 64 year old who has been Spanish President since 1988. After one of the most exciting La Liga seasons in the past 20 years, for Vilar not be present at a match of this significance to Spanish football is baffling. Why Vilar did not cancel his travel plans to ensure he would be at the Nou Camp to present the winner with the trophy is unknown. At best he should have appointed someone else to the role to ensure that the season ended on a high. Now trophyless, Atletico are unable to do a well deserved victory parade.

Vilar was on hand last season to present the trophy to Barcelona  (Image from AFP)

Vilar was on hand last season to present the trophy to Barcelona
(Image from AFP)

Not that Diego Simeone will mind as he now switches his focus to this Saturday’s Champions League final against city rivals Real. Injuries to star striker Diego Costa and Turkish midfielder Arda Turan are legitimate concerns for Simone as they look to win their first ever Champions League trophy and end the season with a famous double. Real too have injury worries with Cristiano Ronaldo struggling to shake off a thigh strain. However with Gareth Bale on form and Karin Benzema firing on all cylinders again, Real Madrid are a formidable force with or without Ronaldo. Atletico will know that they need to be at full strength if they are to repeat their win from last year’s Copa del Rey final and will need Costa and Turan fit to do so. Costa limped off after 14 minutes against Barcelona with a tweak of his hamstring that has been troubling him for a few months now. Turan followed seven minutes later after landing heavily and awkwardly on his back following a strong challenge by Cesc Fabregas. The Turkish midfielder is so often the creator of opportunities for Atletico so his absence will be a bitter blow. His chances of making Saturday’s showcase in Lisbon is rated as slim however Costa is more likely to recover and be ready to face Real.

Sweating over Costa and Turan  (Image from Getty)

Sweating over Costa and Turan
(Image from Getty)

Celebrations have been cut short by Simeone who needs his players to remain focused and ready for the challenge ahead. One final effort to round off a dream season for Atletico. Victory parade or not, Atletico will be prepared to face Real Madrid and its star studded lineup. Angel Maria Vilar is expected to be in the crowd presumably cheering on both sides but the responsibility of handing out the trophy will fall to UEFA president Michel Platini who is unlikely to miss such a momentous occasion. If Atletico do win the match, then Simeone and his players may just get the victory parade that they deserve.

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