These are weird times at PSG.
The nine-time Ligue 1 champions are not only top of the table once more they also lead their Champions League group.
But all is not well.
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There are a number of suggestions that manager Mauricio Pochettino is under pressure, whilst a report in Le Parisien said that one of their marquee summer signings, Sergio Ramos, could have his contact rescinded.
It’s all a bit chaotic, so in order to try and help us make sense of what’s been going on we got in touch with Cyril Morin form Eurosport France to help us.

Why is Pochettino under pressure?

This seems the most logical place to start because it seems the most illogical. Why would a manager in Pochettino’s pressure be seeing his job security being spoken about in this way?
“Because PSG are weak,” says Morin.
Maybe the weakest team since QSI arrived in 2011.
“Weak as almost every team in L1 is now capable of at least annoying PSG during games, if not more, that wasn’t the case before.
“But the Lille match is an example that in Ligue 1 PSG have the spirit to win in the final moments of games thanks to their stars even if they are making a poor start of season (except Mbappé).

Mauricio Pochettino

Image credit: Getty Images

“So Pochettino is criticised as he has the best group of players a coach can dream of but seems to be doing nothing about it.
I can assure you that we don't take pleasure watching PSG this season.
“And it's not just a Messi problem, Pochettino has been here for 10 months now and we still don't see what he brought to PSG. So yes, very criticised.
“But the results are putting him in a comfortable situation for the winter coming, for now at least.”

How is Pochettino managing the team’s egos?

So for those who are fans of the Premier League it’s pretty well known at this stage that there were concerns about Pochettino’s ability to manage big egos.
Part of his success came from being able to motivate younger players, and help them realise their potential, rather than managing older stars.

Paris Saint-Germain's Argentinian head coach Mauricio Pochettino reacts during the French L1 football match between Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) and SCO Angers at the Parc des Princes stadium in Paris on October 15, 2021

Image credit: Getty Images

We put this to Morin about how he has been getting on so far in this aspect?
“We don't really know,” says Morin.
That's another thing for us, he's very, very boring during press conferences.
“At some points, you can understand why he is tired of always answering about Messi, Mbappé etc...
“But even when we try to go beyond that point, to ask him tactical questions, he always gives empty answers which doesn’t allow us to understand where he wants to go.
“So we don't really know much about his relationship with players except that there are no tensions for the moment, the ones that we saw at the end of Tuchel's era are now gone.
“The doubt is maybe this: are PSG really coachable by a tactician? I mean, you have Messi, Neymar, Mbappé, Di Maria. You have to make them play and you know they want to play in a certain manner.

Lionel Messi

Image credit: Getty Images

“For example, Pochettino's Tottenham was a very intense team, pressing so much. Now, in PSG, it's impossible to have that.
“They are one the teams that runs the least in Europe... That says something about a marriage that isn't going great for the moment.”

So what would it take for PSG to sack Pochettino?

That all sounds a bit dramatic, is there any chance that PSG could sack Pochettino? What would it take?
“We have to chill,” says Morin with a smile.
“As you said, they are still in all competitions, leading the league and their Champions League group.

President of PSG Nasser Al Khelaifi, Bouabdellah Bessedik, coach of PSG Mauricio Pochettino celebrate following the French Cup Final match between Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) and AS Monaco

Image credit: Getty Images

“Away from the Parc des Princes, against Manchester City, we might see a bigger test for this PSG team regarding their chances to go far this spring.
“But Pochettino will be here in February/March/April for sure. Well, at least PSG are on track to at least challenge for the Champions League.
“But, if they fail and play in this way for the most part of the season, I'm sure that Pochettino's case will be questioned in the summer. Wait and see.”

What about Ramos? What’s going on there?

So by now you may have seen what’s been happening with Sergio Ramos, who was probably the second-biggest signing of the summer for PSG when they picked him up on a free from Real Madrid.
But a report in Le Parisien said that there was a chance PSG could actually terminate Ramos’ contract, such has been the disappointment with the fact that he hasn’t played yet. So what’s going on?
“Be careful with all the reports surrounding Sergio Ramos' end of contract,” warns Morin.

Sergio Ramos (PSG)

Image credit: Eurosport

“We didn't write a story about it because the article of Le Parisien (often well informed about PSG) is VERY prudent. Here's the phrase that is buzzing: ‘In the club, the option of a termination, which is still not on the table, isn't seen as science-fiction anymore’.
“In the same article, they specify that there is still hope in the club to see Sergio Ramos fit at some point even if they now understand that his behaviour with injuries in the last few years (always eager to come back to play for Real Madrid ASAP) has made him more vulnerable now at 35 years old. This is something we read a lot these days in serious publications. But, in PSG, hope is still the first option surrounding SR4.”

Was this sort of time out expected?

“No I don’t think so,” says Morin. “And I doubt Real Madrid knew this either."
“’We knew everything,’ Leonardo said on Friday but PSG couldn't predict what was coming, and the complications with his calves.
“As RMC mentioned, PSG are waiting for a 100% Sergio Ramos, not a version of him at 70%, which explains the difference of appreciation by the medical staff and Ramos, who wants to come back as fast as possible.
“He needs to be ‘recalibrated’ according to radio reports because his currents problems are just the consequences of multiples damages not totally cured in the last years.”

Sergio Ramos, PSG

Image credit: Getty Images

How has the fan reaction been?

PSG fans can be demanding at the best of times so it’s interesting to wonder what their reaction to Ramos not playing has been so far, particularly given the outlay in terms of wages.
“Yes, of course there is some anger and impatience from the fans,” says Morin.
“The fear is simple: to have signed a player who earns 15M euros/year just to be on a golden pre-retirement.
But it's not SR4’s mentality and it's not what PSG had in mind either.
“For the most part, they don't quite understand what takes so long as his injury isn't a big one, which needs 4-5 months to cure.
“So it's difficult for them to understand why PSG is so patient and why they isn't any other news than ‘Sergio Ramos is out for this game or this game.’”
Morin adds an important caveat about the role that Ramos plays for the club as a whole.
“Many people also saw Sergio Ramos as a leader, someone who can say things to almost everybody within the club.
That's something PSG doesn't really have that much apart from Marquinhos.
“Mbappé, Neymar and Messi are technical leaders but not really group leaders. So they wanted to have Ramos also as someone who asks a lot to teammates which can help the team.
“With him, I'm not sure we would have seen such poor defensive actions from Mbappé or Neymar since the beginning of the season but that's just an hypothesis.”
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