The Champions League in the past broke the Parisian managers of Saint-Germain. Laurent Blanc was fired for losing in the quarterfinals of the weak Manchester City in 2016. Unai Emery never recovered from his fall in Barcelona the following year. If PSG lost to Liverpool on Wednesday night and was knocked out in the group stage, it is impossible to understand how Thomas Tuchel could survive.
But they won 2: 1, and in the joyful consequences the players dancing on the field after the end could feel the change, or at least the beginning of something. For the first time in more than a year, PSG beat the other upper side in Europe. This is the result of sorting, which can become a manager, and not break it. And Tuchel did not hide his pride and delight in the post-match press conference.
What really stood out in Tuchela’s comments was that the PSGs begin anew under it. It was never felt under Carlo Ancelotti, Laurent Blanc or Unai Emery, as if the club had made significant progress. The stories were the same as they tried and failed to reach the semi-finals of the Champions League, which they have not done yet.
But Tuchela's great achievement was to repeat this as a young team with a mission. He spoke in advance about how much more experience than PSG, which is technically true, but he is experiencing a strange complaint when Neymar, Kilian Mbappé, Angel-di-Maria and Gianluigi Buffon appear on the field. Yet Tuchel spoke afterwards, as if his team had proved something for the first time there and had made a long breakthrough in this mental progress.
“This was our last chance to show that we can fight,” said Tuchel in his precise and improved French language at his press conference. “Liverpool has an incredible mentality, and that is why we needed to show that we can play and fight with this team. This was our last chance to demonstrate that we can play a big game against a big team. It was a big step forward for us. ”
Jürgen Klopp had his own complaints about the PSG game, but he was impressed with their performance and tactical courage of Tuchela. “When you saw the composition, the approach they chose was a complete risk. Especially in the beginning, they will try anything, as long as their legs carry them. And the quality that they have, it was quite intense to deal. "
In practice, it was 4-4-2 with Kylian Mbappe and Edinson Cavani, while Neymar and Angel di Maria hid from wide squares, and along with Marquinhos and Marco Verratti sat in front of the defenses to protect them. And after so many criticisms that they could not play with the right level of intensity to beat a serious opposition, in the first half they were defeated in Liverpool, so you don’t often see the PSG teams playing.
Even more impressive was the bilateral relationship between the team and the crowd, each of which was powered by the energy of the other, each player was pushing them when he had a spare second. This is normal for a course in most major clubs, but in the PSG it is so often the case that this emotion becomes new in itself. Tuchel, of course, also reveled in it.
The challenge now, if the PSG really does get through, is to repeat the same intensity in the last-16. Last year they got bogged down with two legs against Real Madrid, but if they play like this in February, no one wants to come here. Not even back to back to back champions. The cloud finally lit the flame, and now he must keep it burning. “We must keep this spirit,” he said. “It’s good to create a new atmosphere, a new culture. We had no experience, and now we feel something. "
Perhaps they will lose again in the last 16 or quarter-finals, as has always been done in the Qatar era. But if they do not do this, and this year they finally move to serious stages, then this evening against Liverpool will be remembered as the night when the penny finally falls.
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