Former Paris Saint-Germain manager Mauricio Pochettino had a tough time in the French capital, and after elimination to Real Madrid in tragic fashion, things were only headed one way. The Argentine seems to think that the French champions have too much in the way star power.
Speaking to Relevo in an in-depth interview, Pochettino admitted that he had sought out the experience of managing top players, stars and competing at the top level of football. He also recalled his time at Spurs very fondly, which notably had much more balance in terms of big names.
However when he was asked about managing a dressing room full of the globe’s top talents, Pochettino described it as a highly complex task.
“You need to constantly adapt because there was too much greatness. For Barça to have Messi or for Madrid to have Cristiano is a blessing. But when you bring in too many players who all need their spot and be number one, there can be confusion. In the end, when you play, there are 11 players with one ball. There was a penalty, and who takes it? It is not even a decision of the coach.”
Pochettino seemed to be somewhat without answers, when pressed for how to handle that. He did feel that his work was partly responsible for PSG’s good start to the season though.
“There is no manual and no one can explain it, although now the experience of when we were there is here. Like having [Keylor] Navas and [Gianluigi] Donnarumma, two number ones in the same position.”
“Now it’s easier. Our skill was to be people of consensus, flexible to be able to give each player what they needed. What happened is that each player needed something different, with their circumstances, according to their sporting situation, family, etc. People only look at one result, but it is a highly complex job. I think we took it very naturally. We gave rise to a certain stability in PSG this year and the same pieces have been maintained.”
Critics will say that complex though it may be, his job is to work out how to do so. Ultimately, it is part of the reason he is no longer in the job.
Pochettino and his defenders will say that he is just the latest to be unable to do so in a long line. The evidence counts firmly in his favour so far.
His assessment is that the squad needed to be more balanced, but equally he was more than happy to welcome Lionel Messi to the side. The addition of Messi to Kylian Mbappe and Neymar Junior undoubtedly made the side an even trickier task in terms of dealing with egos and reputations.