Highlights on Off The Ball

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Highlights on Off The Ball

"No strings attached" | Pochettino's PSG appointment is a low-risk affair

Philippe Auclair joined the Football Show on Wednesday's Off The Ball where he spoke about the hu...


"No strings attached" | Pochettino's PSG appointment is a low-risk affair

Philippe Auclair joined the Football Show on Wednesday's Off The Ball where he spoke about the hurdles Mauricio Pochettino will have to overcome at Paris Saint Germain.

Auclair compared the appointment of the former PSG player to a low commitment relationship that may turn out to have long term benefits for all.

"It is a bit of a risk for Pochettino, but not a huge risk," he said of the appointment.

"After all, he will win titles with PSG, if he doesn't there has to be a question mark over his leadership and management, but he will.

"Everybody knows the way PSG functions, if he fails getting the harmony and playing the kind of football that people want to see. It will be put down, as with his predecessors, with the exception of Unai Emery, that the club is a basket case of a club where the problems do not lie with the coaches and technicians.

"Maybe not even with the players as such, but with the whole pyramid of how the club is run from the top.

"So in this case, it is a very well paid job, in a city that he likes when he was an important player.

"I say no strings attached, as I totally understand why he said yes to [PSG Chairman] Al-Khelaifi," Auclair said.

Pochettino in Paris, but for how long?

Pochettino's contract is only for 18 months, but Auclair believes the dalliance, no matter how brief, will ultimately benefit the former Spurs boss.

"Why would the club who has just netted one of the most sought after managers in the world game only give him 18 months? No way that is not going to happen," said the French scribe.

"My guess is that Mauricio Pochettino would like to test the water for a while before fully engaging with PSG. He might have some ideas at the back of his mind.

"The coziness of the relationships Al-Khelaifi has with some of the star players has really been a problem.

"It is also not a secret that when things do not go right, it becomes difficult for the manger to get a direct link to the owner and the chairman and beyond that the Emir of Qatar.

"The players rule basically and with the appointment of Pochettino, you can see it in two ways. It's quite fashionable an impressive appointment but it may also be a statement of intent."

PSG do not have a reputation for fortitude and discipline, So the arrival of the former Espanyol man should help according to Auclair.

"We know that Pochettino has very high demands in terms of discipline, both on and off the pitch. Maybe they brought him in for that reason?

"Theses players need that, and Neymar is not the only one. When you think of someone like Veratti for example who is clearly one of the great talents of his generation in midfield but is not fulfilling this potential perhaps because of the lifestyle he has been leading which is not ideal for a top footballer."

Disciplinarian approach at PSG?

While that disciplinarian approach may be required at the club, Auclair believes it may not work given the experience of the players at PSG.

"So you bring in Mauricio Pochettino and hope he will bring the same discipline that he did previously, but that comes with a risk, the [antagonism] of key players within the PSG team.

"Players who have seen mangers come and go. Players who at the end of Tuchel's reign couldn't care less what was going to happen to their manger or not, whatever the messages on social networks might have been.

Despite these risks and even he he does not see out his term, there will still be material benefits for Pochettino and his CV.

"He will leave with a league medal on his honours list and maybe even a treble, pandemic permitting. You will see PSG dominating in France as has been the case recently," Auclair said.

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Champions League Ligue 1 Mauricio Pochettino PSG Paris St Germain Philippe Auclair Spurs