Opponents this Wednesday (9 p.m.) Mauricio Pochettino and Jean-Louis Gasset know and appreciate each other.
“It will be special for me because I have never returned to Bordeaux since I left the club,” predicts Mauricio Pochettino, before facing the Girondins with “his” PSG, this Wednesday (9 p.m.), 17 years later to have left the club in the scapular, in January 2004. And this will not be the only reason why this match of the 28th day of L1 will be so special for the native of Murphy… In any case, the person concerned keeps “very good memories ”of his six months in Bordeaux. “I was injured after a match against Auxerre, I had scored elsewhere, and afterwards, I had trouble coming back. But I spent an amazing six months there with the fans, my teammates. It is a magnificent city, a superb region, ”he swears.
Paris (already) no longer has the right to make mistakes
Obviously, Pochettino and his players are not going to Bordeaux for sightseeing. As noted by Jean-Louis Gasset, coach of the Girondins, the Parisians “have practically no room for error” if they want to keep their title of champion of France, they who occupy the second place in the Ligue 1 standings, two points behind Lille and just ahead of Lyon and Monaco. “In the league, they have to spend the second and they know it”, he slips, not failing to make PSG the “favorite” in the race for Hexagoal. And this because of the quality of the red and blue workforce. “I am told that so-and-so is missing … OK. There are 15 internationals left, ”he explains. In this case, Paris comes to Matmut Atlantique without Kylian Mbappé (suspended) and Neymar. Angel Di Maria, Marco Verratti, Alessandro Florenzi and Juan Bernat (injured, recovery) are out too, sorry! “As in Dijon (0-4), it will be an opportunity to show that we are a strong team and that the players who will play also have the talent and the qualities to win”, launches Pochettino, who sees this end of the season as a succession of finals.
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On the Bordeaux side too, we will want to do everything to take the three points and restart the machine after a period of turbulence. Laurent Koscielny set foot in the press conference and the effects were (a little) felt against Metz, despite … a new defeat (1-2). “The key ? Defend well, be united and technically fair, explains Jean-Louis Gasset. Solidarity will be the key word. In the state of mind, you have to be very aggressive, and when recovering, take maximum advantage. This kind of poster can also allow a group not always concerned to be totally turned towards the field. “It’s possible. I hope it will be like that, I hope that we will play the game we expect, that we will be generous, that we will run a lot and that we try to make this team doubt as long as possible ”, he adds.
In short, it is the trap match par excellence for Paris, especially after the failure of the first leg and the 2-2 draw at the Parc des Princes and before a decisive week with matches in three different competitions: Bordeaux, therefore, in championship this Wednesday, then Brest in Brittany for the round of 16 of the Coupe de France, Saturday (9:05 p.m.), and Barcelona, next Wednesday, in the round of 16 second leg of the Champions League.
“He is one of those who knows football the best in the world”
Pochettino on Gasset
In any case, this match, as important as it is for the two teams, will be the occasion of undoubtedly moving reunion for the two coaches. Because the two men know each other well, very well. And they appreciate each other. Between 2001 and 2003, Jean-Louis Gasset was indeed Luis Fernandez’s assistant in Paris, where Mauricio Pochettino played. Which Pochettino even inherited the armband. “He is one of those who knows football the best in the world,” dares the Argentinian. I learned a lot with him, it was a great experience and I had a great time with him and his family. I will be very happy to see it. ” Shared pleasure. “It already means that the time has passed. This is not a good sign, Gasset smiles, imagining this reunion with his former player. He is a person with whom I have always kept in touch. It has happened to me two or three times in my career to find players who have a vocation as a coach. Lately, it was Thiago Motta, ”he analyzes, he who returned to the PSG bench after this first experience, still as an assistant, but from Laurent Blanc (2013-16). And to add that Pochettino was “an example” in terms of “character”. “Mauricio is someone I really appreciate”, he sums up.
Pochettino at the Gasset school
Recall that Pochettino had played in Paris from January 2001 to the end of the 2002-03 season, before going through Bordeaux and returning to Espanyol, where Luis Fernandez had been looking for him, to finish his career. At the time, the Argentina international already had the attention to detail that still characterizes him today. “He was loved and appreciated by all his teammates and he was close to us, the staff, tells us Fernandez, now consultant of the Football Show sure beIN SPORTS. He asked for the profile of each attacker. And it was rare … Today, with technology, we have all the information available on the opponents. But there was no video at the time. ” Arrived in Paris in 2002, Paulo Cesar remembers a Pochettino “who was often with Jean-Louis Gasset in the break room after the sessions, he asked a lot of questions, they often discussed both. He hadn’t told me about it at the time, but thinking about it, I thought he was already preparing to be a coach. ” When traveling, it was not uncommon to find Captain Pochettino sitting next to Gasset on the bus.
In the meantime, there will be no room for emotion and good feelings during the 90 minutes of the meeting, this Wednesday, in Bordeaux. Because Paris needs these three points. Bordeaux too. “We must think of ourselves, of our performance, promises Mauricio Pochettino, who celebrated his 49th birthday on Tuesday. We said last week that we had 12 matches to win. Now there are 11. “