Hassan Ammar/Copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved
Mauricio Pochettino has pledged to instill a “combative and attacking” identity for Paris Saint-Germain as he takes over as coach.
The French champions announced the hiring of Pochettino – their former captain – on Saturday to replace the recently fired Thomas Tuchel.
“This team has fantastic potential and my staff and I will do everything we can to get the best for Paris Saint-Germain in all competitions,” Pochettino said. “We will also do our utmost to give our team the combative and attacking playing identity that Parisian fans have always loved.”
Pochettino, who brought Tottenham to the Champions League final in 2019, signed a contract to coach PSG through June 2022 with an option for an extra year, the club said.
He inherits a squad that is talented but underperforming, at least by PSG standards. It starts the new year in third place behind Lyon and Lille.
His first training session is Sunday ahead of Wednesday’s visit to Saint-Etienne. PSG faces Barcelona in the Champions League round of 16 in February and March.
Pochettino played 95 games for PSG as a rugged central defender from 2001-03 and was a fan favorite.
“I have wonderful memories, especially of the unique atmosphere of the Parc des Princes,” he said. “I return to the club today with a lot of ambition and humility, and am eager to work with some of the world’s most talented players.”
Among those stars are Kylian Mbappe, Angel Di Maria and Brazilians Neymar and Marquinhos.
During the recent break, Neymar was under scrutiny from media reports claiming he flouted pandemic warnings with a large New Year’s bash at or near his mansion in Rio de Janeiro state. Representatives for Neymar denied the star’s links to the party.
Tottenham fired Pochettino in November 2019, only months after the Champions League final appearance, where Spurs lost 2-0 to Liverpool.
Similarly, Tuchel was fired four months after he led PSG to the 2020 Champions League final _ losing 1-0 to Bayern Munich.
“The return of Mauricio fits perfectly with our ambitions and it will be another exciting chapter for the club and one I am positive the fans will enjoy,” PSG chairman Nasser Al-Khelaifi said.