Pressure Continues To Build On PSG And Thomas Tuchel
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By the standards of most clubs, second place in the Champions League group and a slim lead in the domestic table heading into December would represent an unqualified success. Alas, Paris Saint-Germain is not most clubs.
PSG lost just three matches in Ligue 1 last season, but Thomas Tuchel's side has already matched that total 12 games into this campaign. PSG opened the season with back-to-back losses against newly promoted Lens and arch-rivals Marseille, before squandering a lead in a 3-2 defeat to more recent rivals Monaco. Following that loss Tuchel slammed his side, saying they "did not play seriously enough" and "completely stopped playing football."
PSG squeaked out a much-needed win against Leipzig in the Champions League in midweek, despite a poor showing which saw the visitors enjoy 62% of possession and outshoot the home side 15-8. Tuchel acknowledged that his side won ugly in that outing, and in a sentiment echoed by managers across Europe, he blamed fatigue for PSG's poor showing.
He lashed out at a reporter for questioning his team's commitment in the Leipzig game, saying, "The questions are always the same! Why don't you go and ask them in the dressing room — if you have the balls to do that ... I am sick and tired of this — I am tired of being measured against your expectations!"
Despite this, he found himself doing the same after Saturday's game against struggling Bordeaux, which saw PSG let another lead slip.
Speaking to the press afterwards, Tuchel said, "We lacked everything in the second half: discipline, effort... everything. It was worse than against Monaco. We lacked effort, discipline, attitude ... Normally I always protect my team but today I totally disagree. It is not necessary to lose points a second time like that after Monaco. We lost the second half and it is absolutely our responsibility — mine, too."
The second half saw PSG outshot 14-5 by Bordeaux, currently in 13th place. While PSG's Brazilian defender/midfielder Marquinhos has come to Tuchel's defense in recent weeks, he perhaps hit the nail on the head when he said that football has no patience. That it especially true at clubs of PSG's stature.
Victory against Leipzig may have relieved some of the immediate pressure on the German boss, but he finds himself in much the same situation ahead of the upcoming clash with Manchester United.
It is far from a certainty that PSG will emerge successfully from the group stage in Europe, while back on the home front the capital side can feel challengers breathing down its neck. Three teams are currently on 23 points, just two behind PSG, while Lille has 22 with a game still in hand and Marseille sits on 21 points with 10 games played.
Only PSG has outscored Monaco (23 goals) so far this season, while Lyon has won five of its last six games and the surprise of the season, Montpellier, has won four in a row, as has the side from the principality. In a potential season-defining spell, the champions will face Montpellier, Lyon and Lille all in the next few weeks.
Whatever the rest of the campaign brings, PSG's lackluster performances and the ever-increasing calls for his head mean Tuchel is unlikely to see his contract extended before it runs out this coming summer.