Does training PSG make you paranoid?

Her response burst into a burst of laughter. When Jérôme Alonzo was asked if he thought that coaching PSG made you paranoid, he said: “Paranoid, I don’t know. But crazy for sure! “The former Parisian goalkeeper had five coaches between 2001 and 2008. He knows what he is talking about:” Vahid (Halilhodzic) and the mole, Luis (Fernandez) and Ronnie (Ronaldinho), Le Guen who manages to release Pauleta, Tuchel and the positioning of Marquinhos… They all went wild at one point! “.

He is therefore not really surprised when Thomas Tuchel in his turn begins to see enemies everywhere, be it Leonardo, his sports director or the media. “Vahid (Halilhodzic) became paranoid at the end, like Tuchel becomes paranoid because I think he also knows that it is the end, ”he explains.

The German is therefore not the first to be affected by this syndrome. “Coach, it’s a great job, but it sure makes you paranoid,” sums up Laurent Fournier, who led Paris in 2005. You have the impression that everyone is angry with you or criticizing you, that is fine. or not “.

Halilhodzic: “There is a mole here, I do not shake hands”

Fortunately for him, Thomas Tuchel has not yet reached the state of Vahid Halilhodzic, launched in 2004 in an improbable mole hunt to find out who among his players had told the Parisian that the group wanted his departure. Former striker Fabrice Pancrate still can’t believe it. “What paranoia! he recalls. One day I arrive in the locker room, I go to say hello to Vahid and he withdraws his hand saying: Oh no, there’s a mole here, I don’t know, I don’t shake hands. And the same with all the players and the staff! We said to ourselves: It’s abused, even the staff! I see Bernard Mendy arriving: Hello coach. Oh no, I’m not shaking hands!

Vahid Halilhodzic, PSG coach from 2003 to 2005, had a strong character and did not understand why his players no longer supported him. / LP / Matthieu de Martignac

Looking back, the striker remarks: “In defense of these coaches, frankly, it’s hard, very hard. Psychologically: every day, 24 hours a day, with the press, TV shows, we can understand… ”

Le Guen: “I invented enemies inside and outside”

Jérôme Alonzo shares this vision. “Of course, in our time, there was no social networks, he emphasizes, but remember: Luis (Fernandez), Vahid (Halilhodzic) had their puppet at the Guignols. Us, that made us laugh, but them, I’m not sure. When at 7:55 pm you are mocked in front of 4 million people… Being a PSG coach was already being an important public figure. And it hasn’t changed that much. “

Despite his Lyon experience, Paul Le Guen (2006-2009) was also overtaken by this problem. “I invented enemies inside and out,” he confides without pretense. I was not very good. We shut ourselves up, we try to protect ourselves from the outside, this is not the right method. What protects best are the results. I haven’t communicated enough. I didn’t have enough perspective. I didn’t go crazy at PSG, I didn’t disrespect anyone but I made mistakes, I didn’t have the right attitude. I felt like I was being attacked. “

“I made mistakes, I had the impression that I was being attacked,” admits Paul Le Guen, PSG coach between 2007 and 2009. / LP / Matthieu de Martignac
“I made mistakes, I had the impression that I was being attacked”, recognizes Paul Le Guen, PSG coach between 2007 and 2009. / LP / Matthieu de Martignac

Jean-Michel Moutier, the former sporting director of the club in the capital, does not say anything else when he explains that “after a while, a coach always ends up not seeing the good things and only retains the negative . Many think that everyone is against them and that many would like to take their place. “What Alain Giresse, coach in 1998, confirms:” The problem is that there is a form of isolation. Suddenly, you are caught by a kind of gear. We lock ourselves in, we are suspicious of everything … “

Especially since, as noted by a former president of PSG who prefers to remain anonymous “in Paris, everything is power ten. There is only one football club so everything is focused on him. In London you have seven… ”

Fournier: “When you feel that you can get fired for having put on a tracksuit, you shut yourself up”

When he took over from Vahid Halilhodzic at the start of 2005, Laurent Fournier lived his first months in a “relaxed” way. But the pressure catches up with him the following season. “When you feel like you can get fired at any time for wearing a tracksuit instead of pants, you shut yourself up, you stay with your staff and the people at the club who are nice to you, he recalls. . It affects your sleep. You get up at 5 am wondering what you’re going to do, if you’re going to get there… “

Laurent Fournier (left) was fired in 2005, six months after Pierre Blayau (right) took over as PSG president.  / LP / Aurélie Audureau
Laurent Fournier (left) was fired in 2005, six months after Pierre Blayau (right) took over as PSG president. / LP / Aurélie Audureau

Fernandez: “Perpère didn’t like the character Luis”

The relationship of trust with its president weighs a lot on the state of mind of the coach. Luis Fernandez had badly digested to see Michel Denisot call Yannick Noah to the rescue to prepare for the final of the European Cup in 1996. The context of his return to the head of the team in 2000 is hardly more favorable. “The one who wanted me to come back was Alain Cayzac (Editor’s note: at the time a minority shareholder of the club) and the one who did not wish was Perpère (Editor’s note: then president of PSG). There was a misunderstanding, Luis immediately recalls. He didn’t like the character Luis or I don’t know… And then, he did something exceptional: the youth project. This is one of the biggest mistakes a president could have made! If it’s not Perpère the president, I can do something good again. But I felt we couldn’t go on together. “

Luis Fernandez and its president Laurent Perpère did not understand each other, which led to a number of misunderstandings.  / LP / Matthieu de Martignac
Luis Fernandez and its president Laurent Perpère did not understand each other, which led to a number of misunderstandings. / LP / Matthieu de Martignac

In the entourage, the “yes-yes-yeses that fuel paranoia” are also a problem, judge a former president. Ditto for relatives who fan the flames, “like the brother of Unai Emery”, notes a former leader.

For Laurent Fournier and Jérôme Alonzo, the phenomenon does not only concern Paris. “It’s crazy the number of people who think they can train PSG or OM, grumbles Fournier. Everyone gives their opinion, even the elders who have never coached in their life ”. Alonzo agrees: “Take all the Marseille coaches for 20 years, they’ve all gone crazy too. I remember interviews with Villas-Boas a year and a half ago: all beautiful, all well shaved. Put…, today, it looks like a Corsican shepherd! And sought after! “

The dimension taken by the PSG version Qatar since 2011 does in the eyes of observers only increase the pressure on the shoulders of coaches. In this context, the slightest misstep quickly turns against you. “Tuchel tried to argue with Leonardo on the recruitment and he was then a little wrong with the Marquinhos / Danilo placement,” notes a former club president. He gave critics something to grind. However, in Paris, you are not allowed to make a lot of mistakes. Laurent Blanc, we could not criticize him since he did not speak. He put the little piece of plastic in his mouth and then he was silent. The moment you speak, you enter a game and then you have to accept the rules. “

For Luis Fernandez, however, there is no inevitability in suffering such a fate. “It’s a question of personality,” he underlines, citing Carlo Ancelotti (2011-2013) as an example. He is not the only one. Paul Le Guen makes the same observation. “The master remains Carlo Ancelotti for me,” he confides. I watched him in Chelsea or elsewhere and I said to myself: wow, that’s strong! He never looked for war, faced with a squeaky question from a journalist, he thought none the less but always started with You are right then unrolled his argument. He was bluffing me. Before concluding with a mea culpa to his credit: “You have to be able to withstand this pressure and it is I who should not have reacted like that”.

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