French football

League Cup – Between the stars and the second knives, Tuchel will have to find the right balance – League Cup 2019-2020 – Football – FRENCH FOOTBALL

by: Adam Smith


LIGUE CUP – If PSG faces a crazy schedule, Thomas Tuchel can rely on a larger group than ever to handle it. For the Paris coach, this is the perfect opportunity to give playing time to players who don’t use much. But the need to keep his headlines at pace condemns him to a strange balancing act.

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This is the January paradox. Normally, it would involve significant groundwork to allow players to gradually reach their peak form for the Champions League. But it is also one of the densest months of the calendar, which almost negates the time to carry out this preparation. Tuchel has no choice but to manage game times and workouts per minute on a case-by-case basis. But you can rely on a larger group than ever before to achieve your goals.

… and that of (many) reservists

The month of January is also the month of the “second knives”. Those who don’t have the game time they wanted in the first half of the season. Those who see this multiplication of matches as a great opportunity to finally demonstrate their qualities. They may never have been so numerous on PSG. The case of Edinson Cavani is undoubtedly the most striking proof of this. If the top scorer in the history of the Parisian club now seems to fall into this category, it says a lot about the quality of the group that Thomas Tuchel has this season.

The question goes beyond the mere framework of turnover. For the Paris coach, there is also the need to put some players back into the best physical conditions like Thilo Kehrer, injured for a long time at the start of the season, or Julian Draxler and Leandro Paredes, who had a playing time quite limited so far. Or to involve more young people like Adil Aouchiche or Tanguy Kouassi, two of the most promising elements of the Paris training center who have not yet signed their professional contract.

Adil Aouchiche

Adil AouchicheGetty Images

January is a delicate month in this regard. As the opportunities to give game time to the players most accustomed to the bench or to the grandstand will probably become rarer in the coming months. Tuchel continued to seize this opportunity from the first meeting of the year against Linas-Monthléry, in a well-served context. It will be up to the coach to allocate good play time in the coming weeks to optimize the fitness of their group. Exercise is not without your challenges. But it conditions the rest of the season.