There’s something unnatural about the sight of Thomas Tuchel as Paris Saint-Germain manager. Here is a man who had become something of a hipster icon during his time in the Bundesliga. By taking over at the Parc des Princes this summer, though, Tuchel was installed as the head of a club in stark contrast to his identity as a coach and a personality.

The prevailing narrative paints PSG as the bad guys, the evil empire, the club attempting to spend their way to the top of the European game. Tuchel, on the other hand, is a manager who has always favoured organic growth. He was handed big-money signings at Borussia Dortmund, but even then Tuchel’s improvement of the German side felt grounded in coaching rather than the use of the chequebook.

That doesn’t really square with PSG’s approach as a football club. Pumped full of Qatari oil money, they have spent around £650 million on players over the past four years. £200 million of that was splurged on luring Neymar from Barcelona last summer, making the Brazilian the most expensive signing in the history of the sport.

And yet PSG have yet to scale the Champions League. That has long been their target as a club, but they have failed to make it past the quarter finals of the competition, suffering a series of humiliations in trying to break through European football’s glass ceiling. Despite their considerable resources, the Paris side have found it tough.


PSG’s thinking is that a true coach like Tuchel will get the best from one of the strongest squads assembled in Europe. But first the German must give his team a heart, a spirit. That’s something they lacked on Tuesday night at Anfield and for a precedent on this Tuchel should look to his compatriot and counterpart, Jürgen Klopp.

The Liverpool boss has set an example for Tuchel, not just in terms of Champions League results, but in the way he has harnessed a city and a support to build momentum behind the team. That was evident in the Reds’ run to the final of the competition last season, most notably in the 3-0 home win over Manchester City in the quarter finals. Klopp knows how to energise a club.

Tuchel must do the same at the Parc des Princes. PSG might not boast the heritage or history of a club like Liverpool, but Tuchel must still harness what they have. Klopp’s greatest success as Liverpool manager has not been in the results he has achieved or the players he has signed, but in the way he has overhauled the culture around Anfield. A similar sort of overhaul must be led by Tuchel at PSG.

Odds are correct at the time of posting

Join the discussion