Paris Saint-Germain have appointed former player Mauricio Pochettino as their new head coach. He has signed a contract until June 2022, with the option for a further year.
The reigning Ligue 1 champions and 2019-20 Champions League finalists sacked Thomas Tuchel following a 4-0 win over Strasbourg at Parc des Princes on December 23. The club confirmed his official departure six days later. Pochettino has been out of work since Tottenham Hotspur replaced him with Jose Mourinho in November 2019.
Since he was sacked by Spurs, Pochettino has been one of the most in-demand managers in world football.
The Athletic understands Pochettino previously met with Manchester United officials to discuss taking over at Old Trafford, but the club did not want to immediately replace Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.
Pochettino has also been repeatedly linked to PSG and has a connection to the club, having played at Le Parc des Princes between 2001-2003.
What has been said?
“I am really happy and honored to become the new coach of Paris Saint-Germain,” said Pochettino.
“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. I return to the Club today with a lot of ambition and humility, and am eager to work with some of the world’s most talented players.”
PSG Chairman and CEO Nasser Al-Khelaifi said: “We are very pleased to welcome Mauricio Pochettino as first-team coach.
“I am proud to see our former captain returning to Paris Saint-Germain, as the Club has always remained his home.”
What did Pochettino achieve at Spurs?
Pochettino’s success in north London was the key factor behind PSG’s decision to appoint him.
Pochettino moved to Tottenham in 2014, after the club had finished sixth in the Premier League in an erratic campaign that saw them replace Andre Villas-Boas with Tim Sherwood.
Before long, Pochettino turned Tottenham into Premier League title contenders, leading Spurs to successive top-three finishes in three of his first four seasons. Pochettino also took Tottenham to the final of the Champions League in 2019, where they lost 2-0 to Liverpool.
What’s in his in-tray?
Pochettino has a chance to win his first trophy as a manager in less than a month. On January 13 PSG take on Villas-Boas’ Marseille in the 2020 Trophee des Champions. Victory is essential.
Pochettino will also have to lead PSG back to the top of Ligue 1. The club currently sit third, just a point behind leaders Lyon and second-place Lille.
Success in the Champions League, however, will be his principal responsibility. For all their domestic success PSG have never won the Champions League, coming closest under Tuchel last season. They resume their European campaign in February, with a round of 16 clash against Barcelona.
Why was Tuchel sacked?
Despite winning numerous domestic titles with PSG, Tuchel was accused of underperforming — both in terms of results and the team’s playing style.
The Athletic understands an interview he gave with SPORT1 last week, in which he said he felt more like “a sports politician or sports minister than a coach” during his first season at the club, did not impress the PSG hierarchy. Tuchel later claimed he had been mistranslated.
After the win against Strasbourg last Wednesday, PSG entered a winter break and do not play until their match against St. Etienne on January 6. This now gives Pochettino just a few days to familiarise himself with his new squad.