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Tuchel teaches PSG costly Champions League lesson

Paris Saint-Germain’s decision to dismiss Thomas Tuchel back in December raised some eyebrows at the time, as the French side were still alive both in the Ligue 1 title race and the Champions League.

Les Parisiens replaced Tuchel with Mauricio Pochettino, and the German coach was soon appointed by Chelsea to succeed Frank Lampard, who was dismissed in January.

While Chelsea’s decision to replace Lampard with Tuchel could be considered as a success story, the same can’t be said about the way PSG treated the German.

First Champions League final in their history
Tuchel joined PSG back in 2018 and in his first season he led the team to the Ligue 1 title, while they also clinched the Trophee des Champions.

Despite PSG being eliminated at the hands of Manchester United in the Champions League’s round of 16, the club decided to place their confidence in Tuchel.

That decision paid dividends, as the 47-year-old led the team to last season’s Champions League final for the first time in PSG’s history.

PSG were beaten 1-0 by Bayern Munich in Lisbon and after the 2020/21 campaign kicked off, Tuchel complained about the lack of new signings.

“Tuchel needs to understand how delicate the current situation is,” said PSG sporting director Leonardo back in October.

“We’ve seen a drop of more than 100 million euros in our income and we also have to abide by the Financial Fair Play rules.

“The club and I really aren’t pleased about his comments about the lack of signings.

“If someone isn’t happy, they should leave. I’ll speak to him in private about this.”

The dismissal and the lesson
The feud between Tuchel and the club’s hierarchy led to the coach’s dismissal last December, with PSG’s decision surprising the German.

“We were surprised on December 23, after winning 4-0 at Strasbourg, when Leonardo told us that Thomas [Tuchel] would not continue,” Tuchel’s assistant, Zsolt Low, told Nezmeti Sport in January.

“After having gone through serious difficulties in 2020, having achieved historic successes for the club, qualifying from the group stage and fighting for the league, it seemed incomprehensible to us.

“Ignoring all the injuries we had during the season, the [impact of] coronavirus, I think it was an achievement to end the year as we ended it. We had overcome ourselves, that’s the truth.”

Chelsea came knocking on Tuchel’s door shortly after and he made the move to England, where he would go on to build one of the most solid sides in Europe in this last stretch of the season.

In his 24 games in all competitions as Chelsea boss, Tuchel has registered 16 wins, six draws and just two defeats, with his team having scored 32 goals and conceded just 10 – of which five came in a freak 5-2 loss at home to West Brom.

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Tuchel has become the only coach to reach a Champions League final in two consecutive seasons with a different club, while PSG are reliant on Lille dropping points in the last three games of the Ligue 1 season, as they look to retain their domestic crown.

The German tactician has taught PSG a lesson. It remains to be seen whether the Ligue 1 club have learned something out of it.

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