Paris Saint-Germain appoint Mauricio Pochettino as coach

Pochettino, who played for PSG as a defender and also captained the side, has been out of a job since being dismissed by Spurs in November 2019.

Pochettino inherits a squad that is talented but underperforming [File: AFP]
Pochettino inherits a squad that is talented but underperforming [File: AFP]

French football champions Paris Saint-Germain have announced the hiring of coach Mauricio Pochettino to replace the recently fired Thomas Tuchel.

Pochettino, who took Tottenham Hotspur to the Champions League final in 2019, signed a contract to coach PSG until June 2022 with an option for an extra year, the club said.

The 48-year-old Argentinian, Pochettino, inherits a squad that is talented but underperforming – by PSG’s standards. It starts the new year in third place behind Lyon and Lille. His first game in charge will be on Wednesday at Saint-Etienne.

“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,” Pochettino said in a statement on Saturday.

“This team has fantastic potential and my staff and I will do everything we can to get the best for Paris Saint-Germain in all competitions,” Pochettino said. “We will also do our utmost to give our team the combative and attacking playing identity that Parisian fans have always loved.”

Pochettino played 95 games for PSG as a rugged central defender from 2001 to 2003 and was appreciated by fans.

“I have wonderful memories, especially of the unique atmosphere of the Parc des Princes,” the former PSG captain said.

Tottenham fired Pochettino in November 2019, only months after the Champions League final appearance, where Spurs lost 2-0 to Liverpool.

Similarly, Tuchel was fired four months after he led PSG to the Champions League final – losing 1-0 to Bayern Munich.

“The return of Mauricio fits perfectly with our ambitions and it will be another exciting chapter for the club and one I am positive the fans will enjoy,” PSG chairman Nasser al-Khelaifi said.

“With the appointment of Mauricio Pochettino, Paris Saint-Germain is committed to continuing to build and move the club forward over the coming years,” he added.

PSG finished 2020 just one point back from the top of the league in third place after beating Strasbourg 4-0 on December 23, but Tuchel was questioned after the game about comments he made to German broadcaster SPORT1.

The German coach reportedly claimed that managing PSG was more akin to being a politician or a sport minister, such was the level of difficulty, and that he did not receive enough recognition for leading the club to its first Champions League final.

PSG have struggled at times this season with four league defeats. They fell short against their main rivals, losing 1-0 at home to Lyon and Marseille, and drawing 0-0 at Lille. They also lost two of the first three games in the Champions League but ended up advancing to the knockout stage by topping the group.

The season start was delayed after several players, including Neymar and captain Marquinhos, tested positive for the coronavirus after returning from a club-sanctioned trip to the Spanish party resort of Ibiza.

Source : News Agencies

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