Soccer: Rotation is key to chasing European glory, Galtier tells star-studded PSG

PARIS – Since Qatar’s takeover of Paris Saint-Germain in 2011, the dressing room has been one of the biggest headaches for the French giants’ coach.

The inability to manage the egos of a star-studded team is one of the reasons PSG have had six bosses in the last 11 years. Players such as Unai Emery, Thomas Tuchel and Mauricio Pochettino had reported friction with players during their stay at the Parc des Princes.

With the team divided into factions, PSG have played more often as individuals than as a unit in the biggest games and have so far failed to win the Champions League despite their domestic dominance.

The European Cup remains the one title Qatar’s owners crave above all else, as it will not only fill a missing gap in their trophy case, but also cement the club’s reputation across the continent.

In Christophe Galtier, PSG may finally have a manager who can turn their galaxy of stars into a well-coached team and also handle the complexities that big-name players bring.

The 56-year-old, who was appointed as Pochettino’s successor in the summer, does not possess the same resume as his more reputable predecessors at the club.

However, he has a great reputation in French football, leading Lille to their shock 2020-21 Ligue 1 triumph, and has been named the league’s Manager of the Year three times.

His ability to quietly mold a team to suit his style of play may be just what PSG need, as their previous star managers cannot live up to their reputation in the capital.

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In pre-season, Galtier warned that the team would be first above the singles and he has been true to his word, with PSG scoring a record 24 goals in their first six league games.

He has achieved this by not exaggerating his star ‘MNM’ trio fronting Lionel Messi, Kylian Mbappe and Neymar, something Pochettino was guilty of.

Galtier benched Neymar on Saturday and, although he brought on the Brazilian striker on the hour of play, it was Mbappé who paved the way for him in a 3-0 league win at Nantes. This would have caused a lot of anger in the past, but there were no signs of frustration over the weekend.

Ahead of Tuesday’s Champions League Group H home opener against Juventus, Galtier revealed on Monday that he had told the players this season would be all about the team’s rotation.

“I talked about it twice, once with each one of them and once with the whole squad, to tell them that this was going to be the case and that we had to have the right attitude and accept it,” he said.

“It’s an obligation for everyone because of such a tight schedule. We play a lot, every three days, then every four days, then there’s the World Cup. Everyone has to understand that they won’t be able to play every game”. .”

Presnel Kimpembe hopes the decision to put the team before individuals will pay off at the end of the season.

“Everyone has to be ready to play. The most important thing is the team. We have quality both in the starters and in the substitutes,” said the France defender.

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“We have a good group and we take advantage of it to be the best we can be.”

Pundits also agree that this is the way forward if PSG are to end their curse in European football’s elite competition.

French great and 1998 World Cup winner Bixente Lizarazu told Telefoot: “The positive is Galtier’s management. He hasn’t made any mistakes. He handles egos well.” REUTERS

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