Football: Rotation key in chasing European glory, Galtier tells star-studded PSG side

PSG coach Christophe Galtier has a big reputation in French football. PHOTO: AFP

PARIS - Since the Qatari takeover of Paris Saint-Germain in 2011, the dressing room has been one of the biggest headaches for the coach of the French giants.

The inability to manage the egos of a star-studded squad is one of the reasons why PSG have had six bosses in the past 11 years. The likes of Unai Emery, Thomas Tuchel and Mauricio Pochettino all had reported run-ins with players during their time at the Parc des Princes.

With the team split into factions, PSG have more often played like individuals rather than an unit in the biggest games and thus far have been unable to win the Champions League despite their domestic dominance.

The European Cup remains the one title the Qatari ownership craves above all else as not only will it fill a missing hole in their trophy cabinet but also solidify the club's reputation across the continent.

In Christophe Galtier, PSG may finally have a coach who can turn their galaxy of stars into a well-drilled team and also manage the intricacies big-name players bring.

The 56-year-old, who was appointed as Pochettino's successor in the summer, does not possess the same resume as his more reputable predecessors at the club.

However, he has a big reputation in French football, leading Lille to their shock 2020-21 Ligue 1 triumph, and has thrice been named the league's Manager of the Year.

His ability to quietly mould a team to suit his style of play may be just what PSG need, with their previous star coaches unable to live up to their reputations in the capital.

In pre-season, Galtier warned the team would come first above individuals and he has been true to his word, with PSG scoring a record 24 goals in their opening six league matches.

He has managed this by not overplaying their star "MNM" front trio of Lionel Messi, Kylian Mbappe and Neymar - something Pochettino was guilty of.

Galtier benched Neymar on Saturday and while he brought on the Brazil forward on the hour mark, it was Mbappe who made way for him in their 3-0 league victory at Nantes. This would have led to plenty of sulking in the past, but there were no signs of frustrations over the weekend.

Ahead of Tuesday's Champions League Group H home opener against Juventus, Galtier revealed on Monday he had told the players that this season would be about squad rotation.

"I talked about it twice - once with each of them and once with the whole squad, to tell them that this is how it was going to be and that we had to have the right attitude and accept it," he said.

"It's an obligation for everyone because of the very busy schedule. We play a lot, every three days, then every four days, then there is the World Cup. Everyone has to understand that they won't be able to play all the games."

The decision to put the team first ahead of individuals is something Presnel Kimpembe hopes will pay off at the end of the campaign.

"Everyone has to be ready to play. The most important thing is the team. We have quality in both the starters and substitutes," said the France defender.

"We have a good group and we take advantage of each other to be as good as possible."

Pundits are also in agreement this is the way forward if PSG are to end their jinx in European football's elite competition.

France great and 1998 World Cup winner Bixente Lizarazu told the Telefoot programme: "What is positive is Galtier's management. He hasn't made any mistakes. He manages egos well." REUTERS

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