Tuchel tasked with big dreams, big egos

Thomas Tuchel (above)
Thomas Tuchel (above)

New PSG coach needs to win Champions League, ensure stars like Neymar stay happy

PARIS • Thomas Tuchel arrives at Paris Saint-Germain with a reputation as an uncompromising tactician, but there will be much manoeuvring for him to do to placate some of the egos in the French champions' star-studded dressing room, starting with Neymar.

The former Borussia Dortmund coach on Monday signed a two-year contract to succeed Spaniard Unai Emery, who achieved a domestic treble this season but could not establish PSG as a top Champions League contender.

Emery's predecessor Laurent Blanc was also fired following PSG's continued failure to progress beyond the last eight of Europe's elite club competition.

Tuchel will begin his new role in early July with the start of pre-season training and one of his first tasks will be to keep Neymar happy, should the forward stay in France for a second season.

The Brazil international, who on Monday was named in coach Tite's 23-man squad for the World Cup, has been linked with a possible transfer to Real Madrid.

The 26-year-old has, however, hinted on social media that he intends to stay at PSG next term, and Tuchel reportedly met with Neymar to discuss his future amid rumours that he is unsettled in Paris.

While Tuchel is not yet proven as a coach at the highest level, having won only a single trophy in the German Cup last year with Dortmund, the PSG hierarchy believe they finally have someone to deliver their maiden Champions League trophy.

A NEW MINDSET

He is German but with a Brazilian way of thinking about the game. That will help us plenty. He likes plenty of order? In the world of football, a bit of order is necessary. If he arrives with the mentality that many have spoken about, he will add a lot.

THIAGO SILVA, PSG's Brazilian defender who feels that the club have made a right choice in appointing Thomas Tuchel.

"Thomas is one of the best and most competitive European coaches to have emerged over the last few seasons," declared PSG president Nasser Al-Khelaifi, whose side will be playing in the International Champions Cup in Singapore and face Arsenal on July 28 at the National Stadium.

"He abides by very strong principles of playing spectacular and clinical football. His competitive spirit, his preference for attacking football and his strong character are in line with what we always wanted."

Tuchel, who has been out of work since Dortmund sacked him last May after a falling out with the German club's players and chief executive officer Hans-Joachim Watzke, also felt that PSG represented the biggest challenge in football.

"It is with much joy, pride and ambition that I am joining this big club," said the 44-year-old. "I can't wait to start working with all these great players who are all amongst the best in the world."

And PSG captain Thiago Silva feels that Tuchel will be able to handle a squad full of big personalities.

"He is a coach a little from our school," the defender said. "He is German but with a Brazilian way of thinking about the game. That will help us plenty.

"He likes plenty of order? In the world of football, a bit of order is necessary. If he arrives with the mentality that many have spoken about, he will add a lot."

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 16, 2018, with the headline 'Tuchel tasked with big dreams, big egos'. Print Edition | Subscribe