Three matches and already a sketch of the future framework of PSG. Mauricio Pochettino is gradually putting his paw on his new team, seeking to shape it according to his principles. His horizon is clearing up even if he still has to find the hardest part: the good architects of his building, that is to say his typical team.
The choice of an animation
Purists will debate it for hours, depending on Marco Verratti’s area of activity either near forwards or further down in the midfield. PSG thus sets off in a 4-3-3 that looks like 4-2-3-1 if the Italian turns into number ten. The Argentinian started his first three outings in this way, Saint-Etienne (1-1), Brest (3-0), Marseille (2-1), even if it means modifying the system during the game, like this 4- 4-2 final in the Forez. This was one of the major criticisms addressed to the former staff of Thomas Tuchel: permanent tactical changes which blur the legibility of the Parisian game and end up losing players and observers.
Now, PSG has a structure and the Argentine insists on it, seeming to keep Verratti in this central role, even when Neymar entered against OM in the 65th this Wednesday. This is his “find”: to position the little owl much higher than before. For now, the result is divided between the need for adaptation for the environment and the feeling that others (notably Neymar) would undoubtedly be more useful for this mission. Still, by working in and with this framework, Pochettino allows his group to develop automatisms and game circuits from which he could derive the benefits within a few weeks.
The involvement of the leaders
The images are not new and some respond to the time, when in front of the cameras everything must be beautiful and pretty. But between Mauricio Pochettino and his players, the current goes well from the beginning, with an involvement at least equal if not greater with the end of the Thomas Tuchel era. Marquinhos, closely linked to the German coach, has no qualms and continues to frequent the summits. Neymar also shows his closeness to his new boss of the field and none are missing, as if this new wind forced them to show themselves again focused on the project, which has not changed: winning everything.
Managing the locker room remains one of the major challenges of a PSG coach who does not have Carlo Ancelotti’s business card. Laurent Blanc, Unai Emery and Thomas Tuchel were all expected on the issue. Mauricio Pochettino is too. The last two technicians before the Argentinian failed to establish their authority over time. For the moment, the Pochettino-cloakroom marriage is not experiencing any delay in lighting, at a time when everyone wants to earn their place.
A number 1 center forward
Tuchel had refused to decide the question between Mauro Icardi and Edinson Cavani, even if in fact, he had recorded the downgrading of the Uruguayan. She was going to rest with the arrival of Moise Kean and this time, the coach seems to decide faster. Barely recovered and scorer against Brest against whom he appeared in the 65th, Mauro Icardi has again become an indisputable holder, with sharp trips against Marseille for a goal, a penalty caused, a crossbar, among others. A goalkeeper, an attacker, an animation, the club of the capital therefore advances.
Pochettino has not yet released a typical team, especially in the middle. Who will accompany Verratti? They are very numerous for the last two places, between Gana Gueye, Leandro Paredes, Ander Herrera, Danilo Pereira. Rafinha will be back too. The moment of truth is coming here too.