Mauricio Pochettino believes he offered Paris Saint-Germain stability but the challenge proved a step too far after having to appease “too much greatness” within his squad.
PSG brought in Lionel Messi in August 2021, along with Achraf Hakimi, Gianluigi Donnarumma and Sergio Ramos, to join forces with Neymar and Kylian Mbappe in the French capital.
A plethora of world-class talent was expected to help Pochettino’s side to European glory, though they instead crashed out of the 2021-22 Champions League after a dramatic last-16 clash with eventual winners Real Madrid.
Pochettino and PSG subsequently parted ways in July 2022, with Christophe Galtier his replacement, and the Argentine has said balancing an abundance of superstar footballers was the greatest difficulty.
“You need to adapt constantly because there was too much greatness,” Pochettino told Spanish outlet Relevo.
“For Barcelona to have Messi or for Madrid to count on Cristiano [Ronaldo] is a blessing. But when you put too many players on the pitch who all need their place and to be number one, there can be confusion.
“In the end, when you play, it’s 11 players with only one ball. There was a penalty and who takes it? It’s not even the manager’s decision.
“Our ability [Pochettino and his coaching staff’s] was that of being people who kept the consensus, who were flexible to give each person what they needed.
“The thing is each one needed something different with their circumstances, depending on how they were doing in sporting terms, in family terms, and so on.
“We gave cause for there to be certain stability at PSG this year and for the same pieces to be maintained.”
2 – This is only the second time in history that the top two teams in a Ligue 1 season (Paris and Marseille) change their coaches in the off-season after 1962/63 (Monaco and Reims). Argentinout. #Pochettino #Sampaoli pic.twitter.com/BzKn6Ewvir
— OptaJean (@OptaJean) July 5, 2022
PSG’s recruitment has come under scrutiny in recent years, with their desire to assemble world football’s biggest names coming at the detriment of both player happiness and defensive stability.
Mbappe’s time at PSG with Pochettino was filled with transfer speculation, the forward signing a bumper three-year extension after it appeared increasingly likely he would wait for a move to Madrid.
Former Tottenham boss Pochettino suggested he did not even know Mbappe was going to sign fresh terms just hours before PSG announced the news.
“They asked me in a news conference if I saw myself with Mbappe at PSG and I said yes because he had a year left on his contract,” he added.
“[Carlo] Ancelotti [once] said that thing about how managers can’t say the truth.
“Kylian was always calm, he always told me that he hadn’t taken a decision. I knew what everyone [else] knew. He told me: ‘Mister, I haven’t taken the decision.’ I insisted: ‘But tell me if you’ve signed, it can stay a secret.’ ‘Mister, I haven’t signed anything,’ he replied. ‘Are you going to stay?’ ‘I don’t know.’ ‘Are you going to leave?’ ‘I don’t know.’
“And like that until the end. I don’t know what happened afterwards, I only found out a few hours before the announcement was made at the final match [of the season].”
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