Tuesday, September 17, the eve of entry into the Champions League for Paris-Saint-Germain against Real Madrid, it is a word of French that Thomas Tuchel did not understand the question of a journalist. The German coach turned, his brows still frowning, to the PSG press officer; the word was "serenity".
Since 2011 that Paris-Saint-Germain proclaims its ambitions to win one day the Champions League, he never seemed to approach the competition in such a state of fragility. The conquerors of yesterday are in their shoes, when the reading of the workforce, balanced, talented and experienced, should invite the wildest hopes.
Not to be ashamed: Manchester City, the only club in Europe with more investment in the construction of its workforce – more than a billion euros – lives with the same stomach ache, looking for the recipe in this competition that sometimes borders on the paranormal.
Paris, he would like to discover the last square, so that teasing minds stop reminding that Canal Plus did better than Qatar and Michel Denisot was of a different kind than Nasser Al-Khelaïfi, recalling the campaign 1994-1995 , finished in the semifinals against AC Milan.
"All that does not create a positive atmosphere"
By buying the same summer Neymar and Kylian Mbappé, two years ago, Paris thought it had acquired the same gesture a cut-queue for the table of the big. But every winter, the child falls from his high chair in the round of 16. The cabriole continues to make Europe laugh about football, which likes the very rich provided that they already have some Leagues champions in the window.
Thrown over the edge of the Parc des Princes last year by a Manchester United so weak, after a double confrontation dominated in large widths by the Parisian squad, PSG advances six months later with this "trauma In mind – the word was from Nasser Al-Khelaïfi in a military interview at France Football in June.
"The outcome of this match revealed some of our weaknesses in terms of commitment, involvement, motivation, player mentality, then analyzed the Parisian president. In fact, all of this does not create a positive atmosphere for going all the way to the top. (…) Faced with Manchester, I am convinced that we were not the ones who wanted the most qualification. Were we ready, especially mentally? I have doubts… "
The summer, polluted by the Neymar telenovela, could not remove the doubts of Nasser Al-Khelaïfi or his close friend, the Emir of Qatar Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, who will be at the Park Wednesday.
"We have to get out of fear"
Brought back to Paris by the emirate so that we stop laughing the club and, by extension, Qatar, the sports director Leonardo passed a message Monday on RMC, after six months under high tension.
"At the general level we must calm down. This team needs serenity, to have a little time, to rebuild a game. "
"There's something else we need to get out of, that's fear. As Paris has never won, there is the fear that, one more year, it does not happen. We have to get out of this. We have so many good things. "
The speech of the Brazilian exudes confidence like that of Jacques Brunel before sending his flock to the snare against England, in three weeks in Japan.
The field does not reassure either, despite the objective quality of the transfer window: Paris has doubled all positions and, with Idrissa Gueye, finally recruited the middle recovery that he had missed since the departure of Blaise Matuidi two seasons ago.
"We can not say that nothing has happened, that everything is fine, that it is quiet. There have been a lot of changes, Leonardo said. We need time. I do not say that to protect ourselves. But I think this year it will be a difficult season, it will be attentive, it may be really tight. What is today is still fragile. "
Then, not to offer a blank check to coach Thomas Tuchel: "We do not start at all as a favorite, but we still have a large squad. Honestly, it's hard to say it's a transition season. "
Tuchel the optimist
Failing an entire season, Tuchel will still be able to plead the transition match if Paris does not win against Real Madrid: Kylian Mbappé and Edinson Cavani convalescent, Neymar suspended for his insults to the referee of Manchester United's match. last season, Paris is deprived of its three attackers.
Forced to align an attacker far from the European level – Eric-Maxim Choupo-Moting – or another in lack of rhythm – Mauro Icardi – facing a favorite of the competition, Tuchel has nevertheless maintained the resolutely optimistic line that is his since the end of the transfer window.
"Yes, we are calm. It's clear that players are missing but it's the same for Real Madrid (Sergio Ramos, Marcelo, Modric, Asensio, Isco, N.D.L.R.). The mood is good, we won five of our first six games, four times without conceding a goal. It will improve, I am convinced and I am patient. "
The trouble for Thomas Tuchel is that this virtue is rarely shared in the big European clubs. And that Paris always aspires to be.