At work, as with all aspects of life, there are some people who make your job much easier and some who make it harder. There are of course also those who make it impossible. At home, it could be the partner who cooks and washes up after you’ve had a hard day - or the partner who comes and tells you they’ve no clean underwear for work tomorrow at 11.30 pm. Yes, my husband has been and continues to be both of those men.
At work, it’s the colleague who covers for you with little notice, or who helps you with a tricky client. It could also be the jobsworth who moans to HR and your line manager every five minutes - or those who eat food for their lunch that absolutely stinks and has no place in an office. The people around you can make or break your day and help or hinder you at work - something pretty much every PSG manager of the last few years has found out.
Thomas Tuchel is experiencing what so many in the hot seat have before him - when you manage bunch of players who have a huge amount of talent but an even bigger ego, things can get very dicey very quickly and you can be called into a meeting with your boss and fired quicker than Neymar can get himself suspended before his sister’s birthday.
Neymar is, of course, the biggest name at PSG, and has caused various managers big problems. From day one, it looked as though Neymar wanted to be back at Barcelona and felt as though he’d made a mistake - and his level of commitment has shown that tenfold. He’s missed games with ‘injury’ on his birthday for the last three years - once is an accident but three times? Come on.
Hie ego and quest to be better than Leo Messi took him to Paris, but it’s also cost managers their job to boot - and Tuchel could be the next one. Kylian Mbappe isn’t making Tuchel’s life easy either. His reaction to being substituted spoke volumes, and those links with Liverpool aren’t going away. Top players don’t want to be subbed off, and Tuchel seems to command the same amount of respect from his superstars that Unai Emery did - in short, very little.
Mbappe’s fume at being taken off is one thing, but the total refusal to accept what Tuchel was trying to say to him was another. Neymar holding a birthday party after declaring himself injured also speaks volumes. These are the superstars and they’re the ones in charge - not the manager, who is dispensable.
Both Emery and Tuchel have also fallen into the trap of alienating Edinson Cavani, who was always the sacrificial lamb under Emery and is even more so under Tuchel now Icardi is also at the club. Icardi, who is so prone to drama with his wife, you’d expect a ‘WandaMauro’ show to get better ratings than the new Marvel show ‘WandaVision’.
The Holy Grail at PSG is the Champions League, and the club are desperate to win it - but even that wouldn’t keep Tuchel in a job if the likes of Neymar and Mbappe made it an ‘us or him’ situation. That’s the curse each PSG manager will fall under until someone comes along who is bigger than the club and bigger than the superstars. Are there any on the market?
Mauricio Pochettino is certainly a name mentioned, but he doesn’t command the blockbuster value that would render him safe. Perhaps the only man who could is Pep Guardiola, who PSG would be very interested in landing if he did leave Man City in the summer.
Tuchel also knows this, and the pressures of life as PSG boss are immense. Yes, the Ligue 1 title is all but won, but the owners and fans want more than that. The players do as well. A league title and a cup win alone will not keep Tuchel in the job, and he knows this. It’s just a shame that the players understand this, yet do so little at times to make Tuchel’s job easier - something that would make life better for all of them.