What a small act of kindness went badly wrong

The championship title is just a drop of balm on the bare nerves of the PSG bosses

Even Kylian Mbappé's intoxicating triplet against Monaco does not hide the fact that the old and new Ligue 1 champions are in deep form. The criticism of coach Thomas Tuchel is getting louder.

It was not sovereign: after three match balls were awarded, the championship title fell into the lap of FC Paris Saint-Germain on Easter Sunday without having to do anything. A goalless draw from Lille, mathematically the only remaining pursuer, was enough for the title favorites that have been most cited since the beginning of the 2018/19 championship to win the championship, which they had expected. And so a few hours later in the Prinzenpark with the help of the offensive players Neymar and Cavani, who had recovered after long injury breaks, a gala by Kylian Mbappé against Monaco was enough to spread something like a festive mood.

Once again, what happened eight years ago that Louis Nicollin, the owner of the then national champion Montpellier, who was known for his harsh but accurate words, had prophesied about the takeover of the Paris city club by the emir of Qatar: «From now on you will only get Parisian things eat. " In addition to the recent title win, the sixth under the regime of financiers from the Orient and the eighth since the club was founded 49 years ago, there are four Cup and five League Cup victories since 2014. At the national level, the capitals no longer have any competitors.

Humiliations in the Champions League

However, this is nothing but a drop of balm on the bare nerves of the bosses. Since taking power, their ambitions have been in the Champions League, but in this their expensive ensembles never made it past the quarter-finals despite repeated coach changes and often promising starting positions. Worse still: recurring humiliations such as the so-called “remontada” against Barcelona (1: 6 defeat in the second leg after 4: 0 home win) drew malicious joy across Europe. Also this year the PSG campaign in the premier class came to an early end: on March 6th with the inglorious elimination against Manchester United. The 3-1 home defeat after the 2-0 win in England seemed like a crippling shock. Suddenly things went downhill, failures such as dropouts increased, and criticism of the previously untouchable coach Thomas Tuchel was even loud.

For now, however, the German who was engaged last summer at the express request of the Emir of Qatar should be able to feel safe. As if nothing had happened, a few days after the embarrassment against Manchester United, his contract was extended for one season until 2021. After almost a year in Paris, Tuchel has fewer countable items to show than his predecessors Laurent Blanc and Unaï Emery at the same time. Weeks earlier, to the chagrin of the coach, the employment relationship with his rival, the Portuguese sports director Antero Henrique, was extended. It is well known that the two do not work on the same wavelength - and the power-maintaining principle of divide and rule is also well known to club president Nasser Al-Khelaïfi.

For Tuchel and Henrique, the next practical tests are due to take place shortly. Next Saturday, the coach has to lead his ensemble to victory in the Cup final against the outsider Rennes at the Stade de France in order to win at least a second title of the season after the missed League Cup defense (out against the relegation-threatened Guingamp). No less challenged is Henrique, who will have to add several units to the squad in the coming transfer period after his last purchases have mostly proven to be rivets (such as Leandro Paredes, acquired from Zenit Saint Petersburg for 47 million euros).

Meanwhile, the sword of Damocles hovers over coaches and sports director of early release. The fact that the Qatari commanders have no problem with this was shown by the dismissal of coach Blanc three years ago, due to the lack of success in the Champions League and sweetened with 23 million euros in compensation for pain and suffering.

Under close observation

For the proud PSG, these are not all future concerns. Although the last attack so far was canceled by the International Court of Justice for non-compliance with the so-called “financial fair play” as a result of a formal error, the club's leadership with its open wallet policy continues to be under keen, and occasionally envious, observation. In addition, there are doubts about the value of the transfers made - above all the 220 million purchase of the mostly injured Neymar - and even whether the President Al-Khelaïfi, a childhood friend and close confidante of the emir, is the right man for the office.

However, as little sporting success as Monsieur le Président has to show, the marketing is running brilliantly. In this regard, the last prank was the appearance of his ensemble on Easter Sunday in a jersey that bore the inscription "Notre-Dame" on the back instead of the player's name and on the front an image of the Cathedral of Paris instead of the sponsor's logo. Bet that the jersey will sell thousands of times over? And speaking of sponsors: Negotiations with the equipment company also provide a hint. Regardless of all disappointed expectations, they are ready to increase their annual fee by almost fifty percent for the next season. To ask?