It was six years ago last month that Mauricio Pochettino and his assistant Jesús Pérez were seen having lunch with Sir Alex Ferguson at Scott’s restaurant in Mayfair.
It was an informal meeting between Manchester United’s most decorated manager, a club ambassador and the then Tottenham boss.
The pair downplayed the optics, despite doubts about the future of current United manager Louis van Gaal. It is a football relationship that has never occurred.
Ferguson and Pochettino have made themselves known by attending League Managers Association dinners and have spoken publicly of their mutual respect and admiration as the best coaches and managers in the game.
After his surprise departure from Tottenham in November 2019, there was sentiment for his return to football at Paris Saint-Germain in January 2021, succeeding Thomas Tuchel at the Parc des Princes.
“I am happy and honored to take on the role, as the club has always had a special place in my heart,” said Pochettino, who played 95 times for PSG as a player.
“I return to the club today with a lot of ambition and humility and I am looking forward to working with some of the most talented players in the world.
“We will also do everything possible to give our team the combative and offensive playing identity that the Parisian fans have always loved.”
But it was living up to this identity and managing a dressing room brimming with such talent that proved to be Pochettino’s biggest challenge.
Despite winning the 2021 Coupe de France and the 2022 Ligue 1 title, his failure to achieve UEFA Champions League glory is believed to be the reason he is leaving the club.
He left in a 35-word statement.
“Paris Saint-Germain confirms that Mauricio Pochettino has finished his role at the club. The club would like to thank Mauricio Pochettino and his coaching staff for their work and wish them all the best for the future.”
Pochettino, who was appointed in January 2021, won the Ligue 1 title in 2021-22 and the Coupe de France in 2020-21 but failed to deliver in the Champions League, the only major trophy that has eluded PSG. since Qatar Sports Investment took over in 2011.
Now he finds himself at a crossroads with no obvious route as he reflects on his time in Paris.
Analysis: ‘PSG a difficult club to manage’
Sky Sports News reporter Paul Gilmour:
“Mauricio Pochettino will not be at PSG next season. That follows a meeting between Pochettino and the club. The result was quite mutual. Everyone agreed that now was the right time for Pochettino to move on.
“They won the French title and they did it by 15 points. It was the biggest margin in any of the top five leagues, but it’s a very political club, with a lot of high incomes.
“If you look at the caliber of players you work with at PSG, there have been fewer exciting collections of footballers brought together at one club in the entire history of the game.
“There can’t be many coaches who don’t want to have the opportunity to work with Mbappé, Messi, Neymar, Verratti and many others.
“If you look at the profile of the managers who have left PSG in recent years, or who were considered to have failed, they have all achieved impressive things since they left.
“It suggests that PSG are a very difficult club to manage. There are a lot of voices vying for influence behind the scenes and whoever comes to replace Pochettino will have to deal with that and hope they don’t undermine things.”
“It is very difficult for any coach to manage that locker room, but you will look at the records of the coaches who left PSG and were successful.
“Carlo Ancelotti and Unai Emery have been very successful. Thomas Tuchel has won the Champions League, the Club World Cup and individual awards at Chelsea. As difficult as it has been, Pochettino will reflect on those good points.”
“The Champions League is the competition the Qatari owners crave, but they have only been to the semi-finals twice in the last 10 years.
How have previous coaches managed after PSG?
Charles Ancelotti – 1x Copa del Rey (2014), 2x Champions League (2014, 2022), 1x Super Cup (2014), FIFA Club World Cup (2014), 1x Bundesliga (2017), 1x La Liga (2022)
unai emery – 1x Europa League finalist (2019), 1x Europa League (2021), 1x Champions League semi-finalist (2022)
Thomas Tuchel – 1 Champions League (2021), 1 Super Cup (2021), 1 UEFA Men’s Coach of the Year (2021), 1 FIFA Best Football Coach (2021), 1 FIFA Club World Cup (2021 )
Will Pochettino return to the Premier League?
Sky Sports News reporter Paul Gilmour:
I think that would be his preferred destination. Pochettino has not hidden that he wants to return to the Premier League in the future.
“He had talks with Manchester United, who decided to take a different path and appoint Erik ten Hag, but Pochettino certainly has his eye on Premier League football again.
“There’s no obvious vacancy at the moment, but it’s a league that means a lot to him. Football can be unpredictable and we’re just waiting to see what happens there. From what we’re told, he’s not actively looking at the moment, but just focused on finalizing his departure from PSG.
Pochettino’s departure from PSG ‘not surprising’
French football pundit Tom Williams speaking on Sky Sports News about Pochettino leaving PSG:
“It’s not a surprise. This has been going on for months. You can even go back to last summer – there were approaches with Pochettino from Tottenham about a return to north London.
“We knew he wasn’t entirely happy at PSG. He wasn’t entirely happy in Paris. He spent a lot of time living in a hotel, which didn’t help at all.”
“Over the course of this season, even with PSG moving towards the Ligue 1 title, things haven’t been feeling good.
“Things haven’t worked out, football has been awful. The feeling has long been that Pochettino was not going to continue beyond this summer.
“The fact that we have seemed to reach the starting point now is not going to surprise anyone.”
‘Galtier will try to return seriousness to PSG’
French football pundit Jonathan Johnson speaking to Sky Sports News about Pochettino’s successor, Christophe Galtier:
“Ligue 1 alone is not enough for PSG, but PSG have not dominated the national scene in recent years. That was one of the criticisms of Pochettino.
“I think Galtier is the closest guarantee you can find for that. I think he will bring the level of seriousness that a lot of people feel is required for PSG to take on the Champions League. We saw them do it very briefly.” under Thomas Tuchel and the hope is that Galtier can get them back there.
“Of course Pochettino led PSG to a Champions League semi-final before Manchester City knocked them out, and there are question marks about Galtier and the fact that he doesn’t have as much Champions League experience as other managers who have preceded it.” to the.”