Pochettino begs for more time at PSG.

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Pochettino begs for more time at PSG.
Pochettino begs for more time at PSG.

Mauricio Pochettino has said many times that he needs time to establish himself at Paris Saint-Germain, and surviving the first few months was always going to be a challenge.

After his predecessor, Thomas Tuchel, led the Qatar-owned club to the Champions League final last season, only to lose to Bayern Munich, the Argentine was hired to help them win the competition.

Three months after being hired on an initial 18-month contract, he is still on track to deliver European success, even if it means losing out on the Ligue 1 title, which is taken for granted in Paris.

In the Champions League, the former Tottenham Hotspur manager has overseen two stunning away victories, 4-1 at Barcelona and 3-2 at Bayern Munich in their quarter-final first leg last week.

PSG are in good shape to knock out the holders and advance to the semi-finals after defeating them 5-2 on aggregate in the last 16. They will host Bayern on Tuesday. Manchester City could be waiting for them in the last four.

“It was important to beat Barcelona but on Tuesday we will be playing the team that I think is the best in the world,” Pochettino told Canal Plus on Saturday that the work isn’t done yet.

But what kind of job has the 49-year-old done at PSG so far, and does he justify Tuchel’s dismissal?

On the one hand, their European away results have been outstanding, but they were lucky not to be annihilated by Barcelona in the home leg.

Despite PSG’s resources, which go beyond simply having the two most expensive players in the world in Neymar and Kylian Mbappe, their form in Ligue 1 has been inconsistent at times.

Mbappe delivers in big games

Four defeats in 15 league games is a far cry from Tuchel’s four losses in 17 games earlier in the season.

With six games left, they are three points behind leaders Lille, and the possibility of them failing to win the title for the second time in nine seasons is real.

If only because domestic performance is supposedly a given, a PSG coach will eventually be judged on his or her results in Europe.

However, the last time PSG changed coaches in the middle of a season was in 2011-12, when Carlo Ancelotti took over from Antoine Kombouare and led his team to a second-place finish behind Montpellier.

“Maybe what I say can be considered an excuse but the reality is that any management team needs time to work and get its ideas across and for us we haven’t had that time yet.

“We are trying to optimise what we have and get the best possible results until the end of the season.”

PSG has been destructive away from home, where they can better exploit Mbappe’s breakneck pace.

They’ve won nine of their last ten away games, scoring 26 goals along the way.

Mbappe has scored spectacular goals in major games for Marseille and Lyon, a hat-trick for Barcelona, and a brace for Bayern Munich.

The Parisians, on the other hand, have lost their last three home league matches, their longest losing streak since 2007. Meanwhile, Neymar has been injured or suspended several times.

It hasn’t always been persuasive, but if PSG can hold off Bayern, Pochettino will be one step closer to delivering the trophy that the Qataris need less than six months after his arrival, and it could turn out that he doesn’t need the time after all.

TIPSFAME

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