The inscrutable ways of soccer have reversed Thomas Tuchel’s position in the coaching landscape. He has never lacked prestige, accumulated in the Bundesliga during his spells at the head of Mainz and Borussia Dortmund, but his journey at Paris Saint Germain aroused more doubts than certainties in the media crowd.
The French club was not interested in producing young people and maturing them. They had built it out of world-caliber bills and stars. A team for the rabid present, subjected to the weight and whims of its figures, a three-track circus unknown to Tuchel. It was not bad, nor good, according to the scale of expectations that is handled in the PSG and its surroundings. Tuchel was fired on December 29, 2020. Five months later, he led Chelsea to victory in the European Cup final.
Tuchel’s good work at PSG did not prevent his discomfort from being perceived. Due to its location, ownership and design, this club is accompanied by an annoying buzz, the noise that is least desired by coaches of the character of Tuchel, a meticulous German seasoned in football with hardly any media adhesions, or unbridled demands. As it happened to all those who preceded him and will happen to all those who will succeed him, his room for maneuver was limited. If PSG won titles, the credit went to Neymar and Mbappé. Tuchel was in charge of defeats.
Faced with a situation that generates more visibility than satisfaction, Tuchel was imprisoned by a lavish team model. Unlike old patricians like Real Madrid, Barça or Manchester United, Paris Saint Germain lacks the patina of history. It is a club in a hurry, in a less demanding environment than English, Spanish or Italian. Even today, despite the signings of Neymar and Mbappé, it does not seem like the destination dreamed of by the big stars. For PSG, it’s the European Cup or nothing.
Tuchel did not come to France like Guardiola to Bayern or Manchester City, nor like Mourinho to Real Madrid. He belongs to the brilliant generation of German coaches, winners of the last three editions of the European Cup: Jürgen Klopp (Liverpool), Hansi Flick (Bayern) and Tuchel. Gone was the coach forced to demonstrate his ability in a team devoured by his aspirations. At the helm of Chelsea, Tuchel sits by right at the table of the hierarchs of the profession.
To a large extent, their success lies in the notable differences that separate the English team from Paris Saint Germain. Owned by a Russian billionaire, Chelsea’s goals hardly differ from those pursued by the French club. It seeks a leading position in England and, by extension, in Europe. They distinguish themselves in the configuration of their models and in the different competition they encounter.
Each season Chelsea face four or five of the strongest teams in England, under similar economic conditions. In France, PSG have lived without company in recent years. Its main adversary is none other than the size of the expectations it arouses, multiplied by the tinsel of its stars, who act as undisputed governors. If Tuchel had an opportunity to pass on all his knowledge, the right team was Chelsea, not Paris Saint Germain.
Without big egos, with expert and disciplined players (Azpilicueta, Thiago Silva, Jorginho, Rüdiger, Ngolo Kanté …) and one of the most exciting groups of young people in world football (Mount, Havertz and Pulisic), Tuchel found the tools at Chelsea perfect for establishing your ideas: expensive and luxurious equipment that has the virtue of resembling the good equipment of a lifetime.