Why PSG Manager, Thomas Tuchel is partly to blame for the giants downfall

And Paris Saint-Germain boss Thomas Tuchel must hold his hands up and admit that the decision which ultimately played its part in PSG’s latest European downfall, was his mistake on the goal keeping side.

Tuchel has been praised for his management in the French capital this term, not least after a masterful tactical display at Old Trafford.

But his failure to make a definitive decision over his goalkeepers – and not just a decision, but the right one has ended his hopes of finally taking the French champions to European glory this season.

Despite the rise of Alphonse Areola, with the 26-year-old French international now seen, largely, as the club’s No.1, the German has made Gianluigi Buffon his Champions League goalkeeper this term.

Signed from Juventus last summer after two near falls in the last four years, his move was deemed one final shot for Buffon to land Europe’s premier club prize, a trophy that has eluded him during his standout career.

Having missed the opening three games of the competition through suspension following his meltdown while playing for Juventus in last season’s quarter-final, Buffon had played the following four matches, ahead of Wednesday night’s last 16, second leg.

Overall, prior to Wednesday night’s visit of Manchester United, Buffon had played 19 games to Areola’s 22.

It has been a balancing act, with Tuchel admitting in September: “Gianluigi Buffon, a legend, an idol of Alphonse who is at his side. Both players have very strong personalities.

“We will have to fine-tune things. Gigi knows it, Alphonse knows it, if you get there, in this configuration, to be smart and generous with both, I’m sure we’ll be rewarded.”

However, in their biggest game of the season, that was far from the case, with Tuchel’s rotation coming back to burn PSG.

A Buffon blunder to hand Romelu Lukaku a tap-in for United’s second goal in their shock 3-1 success, simply cannot be masked by the late VAR controversy.

Lukaku’s second aside, on a night where the Italian was far from his best, there is also the issue that Buffon was caught in no-man’s land for the opener Areola has a generally higher starting position, could he have reacted quicker to Kehrer’s dismal back-pass? and that the French stopper is considered a better saver of penalties too.

Perhaps things would have been different had Areola, who started the weekend win at Caen, been given the nod; that Ligue 1 start in itself was a surprise, as Buffon usually starts the game before Champions League matches.

And in the hours before kickoff at the Parc des Princes, there had been murmurs and reports that Areola was set to start at Buffon’s expense, that Tuchel had made the decision to swing the axe and go with the more proactive, rather than reactive stopper.

However, when the teams were announced, the veteran had got the nod, and would go on to produce a nervous display as PSG again failed in their quest for European dominance.

Former Liverpool defender Steve Nicol, now working as a pundit for ESPN, blasted Tuchel, accusing the German coach of trying to be “too clever”.

“The second goal, why are you playing your second string goalkeeper in the round of 16 in the Champions League? It’s being too clever.

“Thomas Tuchel tonight has cost PSG with that one decision. One decision. You play your top goalkeeper and that doesn’t happen.”

Nicol isn’t the first of accusing Tuchel of trying to reinvent the wheel, and is unlikely to be the last. However, the issue here isn’t that he was being ‘too clever’, but rather a failure to follow through with the tough decision. And it’s an issue that isn’t going to go away any time soon.

PSG agreed a contract with Buffon last summer for a year with another year’s option.They are set to take up those extra 12 months, meaning Tuchel will have another juggling act on his hands in 2019-20.

PSG fans can only hope that he either does a better job next term or finally makes a decision.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *