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Thomas Tuchel had a top performance at Paris Saint-Germain this season and did not deserve to be fired, according to his assistant Zsolt Low.
PSG finally confirmed Tuchel’s dismissal on Tuesday after days of speculation, ending his two-and-a-half-year stay at the Parc des Princes.
The German coach won consecutive Ligue 1 titles in his two full seasons and also won the Coupe de France, Coupe de la Ligue and two Trophee des Champions.
Tuchel also led PSG to an inaugural Champions League final in 2019-20, where they were defeated 1-0 by Bayern Munich.
But he endured a contentious relationship with sporting director Leonardo after publicly criticizing the club’s transfer manager for lack of spending heading into this season.
1 – Thomas Tuchel among the Ligue 1 coaches (minimum 2 games):
2.37 points / game – highest average in history (tied with Unai Emery)
75.6% win rate – highest percentage ever
– OptaJean (@OptaJean) Dec 24, 2020
Unaided by a series of injury problems and a lack of preseason, PSG lost four and drew two of their first 17 Ligue 1 games and entered the mid-season break in third place.
However, they beat Strasbourg 4-0 in what turned out to be Tuchel’s last game and are just one point behind the top two teams, Lyon and Lille, who also advanced from a tough Champions League group to the last 16. final.
Low has outlined the details behind Tuchel’s firing and says the timing of the decision was a shock.
“We were surprised because on December 23, after winning a 4-0 match against Strasbourg, Leonardo brought us together to say that the club no longer had Thomas for the future,” he told Hungarian media Nemzeti Sport.
“After facing considerable difficulties in 2020, after achieving historic success with PSG, after going through the group stage of the Champions League, and with the team in full swing in the League, he made the decision very difficult to understand.
“And the fact that we were affected by numerous injuries throughout the season and had to deal with COVID-19. I think it was a great professional success to finish the year like we did. We had a superior performance, that’s the truth. “
Tuchel appeared to criticize PSG in an interview published on the day of the Strasbourg victory, in which he also admitted that managing the club was more like a “politician”.
How are you feeling tonight?
– Paris Saint-Germain (@PSG_English) January 2, 2021
Although surprised by the timing of the firing, Low admits that the strained relationship between Tuchel and Leonardo meant that something finally had to give.
“We were surprised,” he said. “The summer window did not go the way we wanted, the main players who left after the Champions League streak were not replaced correctly.
“That created tensions among some members of the board and staff, as well as with the athletic director who was adopting different management principles than the coach.
“I don’t want to go into the details. They had different ideas in various domains, and the difference in point of view accumulated over time. This led Leonardo to decide to create a future with a different staff.
“To be honest, this situation could not have lasted. Better to stop now, almost at the top, to say goodbye with a vast majority of wonderful memories. Not following Thomas would have gone against my values. “
Low, who previously worked as an assistant chief in Salzburg and RB Leipzig, added: “Before, I had the opportunity to take the place of the managers in Salzburg and Leipzig, and I did not take advantage of those opportunities.
“When I fight alongside someone, it is for better or for worse. The professional relationship between Thomas and I is extremely close, he keeps his word, he counts on me, that’s why I feel part of the successes.
And the failures too. I came to PSG because of his call two and a half years ago, I was with him at all times ”.
PSG announced Mauricio Pochettino as Tuchel’s successor on Saturday, with his first match in charge in Saint-Etienne on Wednesday.