PARIS (AP) — Christophe Galtier became Paris Saint-Germain’s seventh coach in 11 years of Qatar-backed ownership after Mauricio Pochettino was fired on Tuesday.
PSG president Nasser Al-Khelaifi introduced Galtier to the media at a press conference and said: “We are facing a new era, a new atmosphere, new goals.”
Galtier said he felt “emotional” and “proud” to take on a two-year contract.
“We have to work the right way to make people happy,” Galtier said. “I’m prepared. If I accepted this job and this responsibility, it is because I am capable of it.
Galtier has said there will be no services for star players who have long been seen as over-indulged at PSG.
“Commitment, respect and the team above all. If, unfortunately, the players back away from that, they will be out,” Galtier said. “No player will be above what a team should be. I am a very demanding coach.”
Galtier has called for a smaller squad but wants the injury-prone Neymar in it. PSG also boasts Lionel Messi and Kylian Mbappe.
“You have to find a balance on the side, but I have a very clear idea of what I expect from Neymar. Of course I want it to stay. It’s better to have world-class players with you.”
Long considered too close to star players, al-Khelaifi also required an improved mentality.
“No one is above the club,” he said. “If a player doesn’t want to abide by the current rules, then he has no place here.”
Al-Khelaifi said former Real Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane was not approached.
“We have never spoken to Zidane,” he said. “Christophe was our #1 option from the start.”
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Pochettino had one year left on his contract. He followed Thomas Tuchel, Unai Emery and Laurent Blanc in being sacked by PSG in 2016.
Pochettino won the French league but ultimately paid the price for the club’s humiliating exit from the Champions League against Real Madrid in the round of 16. PSG led 2-0 on aggregate and conceded three goals within 20 minutes.
Galtier led Lille to the French title in 2021 and joined Nice last season, finishing fifth but knocking PSG out of the French Cup. Nice drew with and beat PSG in the league last season. Nice did not concede a goal and Galtier’s astute tactical sense stood out.
When he led Lille to the title in 2021, his side drew at home to PSG and won away, again without conceding a goal. Galtier figured out how to shut down PSG’s attacking armada of Mbappe, Neymar, Angel Di Maria and Messi.
Galtier, 55, played for Marseille, where he was born, during two spells as a journeyman defender. His career ended in 1998 amid the obscurity of Italian club Monza.
He improved Saint-Etienne’s fortunes when he coached there, winning the League Cup in 2013 – the year he was voted the best coach in the French league alongside PSG’s Carlo Ancelotti.
Since wealthy Qatari investors QSI took over in June 2011, Ancelotti has been the only coach not to be sacked, leaving Real Madrid in 2013. But Ancelotti was only hired after Antoine Comboire was spectacularly sacked in December 2011 when PSG had a three point lead at the top.
Pochettino’s mixed record
Former PSG defender Pochettino took over in January 2021 after Tuchel was sacked.
After reaching the semi-finals of the 2021 Champions League, PSG lost the French league to Galtier’s Lille. Perhaps strangely, Pochettino’s contract was extended by a year until 2023.
Although PSG reclaimed the French title last season, there have been worryingly poor results along the way, and Mbappe’s outstanding form has been marred by obvious cracks. These weaknesses were mercilessly exposed by Madrid in the Champions League.
PSG’s lack of composure under pressure is a known flaw and Pochettino did not fix it.
In 2017, PSG were thumped 6-1 by Barcelona after a 4-0 win at home, and two years later, injury-hit Manchester United won 3-1 in Paris in stoppage time.
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