With Mauricio Pochettino set to depart Paris Saint-Germain, a ground-breaking data analysis team’s in-depth review of the leading candidates to succeed him concluded Zinedine Zidane – not Jose Mourinho – should be the French club’s first choice.
The club, who are close to finalising the departure of head coach Pochettino, appear to be going with another option entirely, however, and are close to agreeing a deal for Nice boss Christophe Galtier.
It comes after Pochettino’s PSG won Ligue 1 by 15 points but once again failed to deliver in the Champions League, where they were knocked out at the last-16 stage by Real Madrid.
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Zidane and Mourinho were among the bookies’ favourites to replace Pochettino, but now Galtier is leading the way after PSG president Nasser Al-Khelaifi told Le Parisien: “We chose another option. We chose a coach who will be the best for what we want to put in place.”
River Plate’s Marcelo Gallardo was also rumoured to be in the running, but which of those managers would be best suited to bring success to PSG? That’s the question Carteret Analytics have been looking into as part of a special study for Sky Sports.
Carteret Analytics combine raw manager data with their own bespoke algorithms to come up with the Carteret Manager Rating – a tool used by football club decision-makers to assess the ability, quality and potential of prospective managerial appointments.
The complex analysis draws on managers’ performances over the past six seasons and is then weighted against expectations, strength of opposition sides and various other factors such as styles and formations.
It is usually confidential information to assist football club leaders but here we can share their study into the prime PSG candidates.
Comparing Pochettino with Zidane, Mourinho, Galtier, Gallardo and – for comparison – Real Madrid’s Champions League-winning boss Carlo Ancelotti led to some striking conclusions:
- Pochettino’s stats are very good, suggesting subjective or relationship reasons may have led to his departure – or a lack of patience from PSG’s owners in regard to their pursuit of the Champions League
- If winning the Champions League is the priority, Zidane is, by some margin, the best option
- Mourinho’s analysis puts him some way off the level of Zidane, Pochettino and Ancelotti
- Galtier’s exceptionally defensive style contrasts with the usual approach of PSG, while Gallardo would be a high-risk appointment given the quality of league he is currently operating in
The highest-rated managers
After all the number-crunching, it is three-time Champions League-winning manager Zidane who scores highest in Carteret Analytics’ analysis.
The Real Madrid legend has the highest normalised Carteret Manager Rating at 524.5. Next comes Pochettino (493.0) followed by Ancelotti (469.1), Mourinho (383.6), Galtier (339.8) and Gallardo (266.6).
To put those figures into context, Mourinho’s performance levels are around 28 per cent lower than Pochettino over the last six seasons, despite that Europa Conference League success with Roma at the end of last season.
Drilling down into how these managers perform in matches, Pochettino sets the standard. He top scores for Carteret Analytics’ ‘Strategic Intelligence’ and ‘Tactical Command’ ratings, which measure how well a manager sets up a team to win a match and how well they can turn a game to their advantage during the 90 minutes.
He’s closely followed by Ancelotti and Zidane, however, Mourinho scores the lowest in both of those metrics.
Who suits PSG’s style?
PSG have a track record of playing attractive football and that style is a priority, given the big-money investment in attacking players such as Lionel Messi, Neymar and Kylian Mbappe.
Pochettino’s high ‘Attacking Coefficient’ (25.14) is marginally bettered by Zidane (25.73) and Ancelotti (26.46). However, Gallardo (21.86) and Mourinho (20.74) offer a more modest attacking approach and Galtier’s extremely defensive style (13.88) suggests PSG would be making a big shift in how they play if they turned to him.
Pochettino at PSG: ‘Football was poor, away form dreadful, never made Neymar-Messi-Mbappe work’
Julien Laurens, French football journalist on Transfer Talk Podcast:
“Mauricio Pochettino has known for a while now. Since the defeat to Real Madrid in the Champions League last-16 second leg, it was obvious was going to get sacked, even with the year on his contract.
“It’s been 18 months for him at the club, and yes he won the league title – but anyone would have won the title with that team. The style of football was poor, with the exception of 20 minutes here or there. He’s always said ‘I need more time for Messi and Mbappe to click and get used to each other gel’ but it was poor anyway.
“The most shocking part was the away form in the league. It was dreadful – they picked up no away wins against the eight teams below them in the league – how is that possible? They didn’t win at Marseille, Lyon, Monaco – which you can understand – but there’s also Nantes, Rennes and Strasbourg.
“For a team like PSG to go away like that with Mbappe, Messi and the others and not get a win in those eight games is just crazy. He didn’t get on with Leonardo the sporting director which didn’t help.
“It’s a shame because it was such a nice story: the former club captain coming back as one of the best young managers in the game to take this team to Champions League triumph. All that we’ll remember is that he never made it work between Neymar, Messi and Mbappe. The incredible front three that was meant to be the best in world football never really worked out.
“He wants to come back to England in the Premier League. His wife and his two boys have stayed there, his two boys are both players in England. The problem is the top six jobs are taken – and probably taken for quite a while. It’s too big a step to go to a lesser club like Leicester, if Brendan Rodgers was going to get sacked. But he’s got high ambitions and he wants to get one of those top jobs.”