Former Espanyol and Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino had one of the highest stocks in Europe before taken on the Paris Saint-Germain job. Yet like Thomas Tuchel and Unai Emery, who had similar reputations, there was definite feeling of impotency associated with Pochettino by the time he finished in Paris.
The evidence rules in Pochettino’s favour looking at Tuchel and Emery now, PSG are a tremendously difficult entity to lead.
Speaking in a recent interview with Infobae, that was then carried by Marca, Pochettino explained how the deep-rooted desire to win the Champions League affects matters at the Parc des Princes.
“Everything is focused on the Champions League and sometimes that distracts a little and that demand seems like it only exists in the lead up to the Champions League. In the other competitions the superiority of PSG is taken as a given. The obsession is the Champions League and anything that isn’t winning the Champions League is a synonym of failure.”
Yet he believes he was unfortunate. Pochettino was eliminated by Manchester City in the semi-final in his first campaign, before a famous Real Madrid comeback put PSG out in the most recent edition. Pochettino was keen to recall the injustice of the tie in his eyes, a foul not given on Gianluigi Donnarumma after Karim Benzema robbed him for the first Real Madrid goal.
“I think that it was a foul and if they would have revised it on VAR, we would be talking about something else, of the elimination of Madrid.”
It certainly went down badly with the Parisians, PSG CEO Nasser Al-Khelaifi subsequently went looking for the referee after the match. However regardless of what the correct judgement is of that foul, throughout the history of the competition, few if any winners will have gone through the entire tournament without a fortunate decision or two. Equally, as winners, there is no need for analysis of any decisions harshly given against them.