The expression will make a name for itself and we owe it to the German coach of the Paris-SG, Thomas Tuchel, after the victory – the hands at the top of the handlebars – of his team (2-0) on the lawn of Manchester United in eighth of Champions League final, a success that ensures or almost (since the remontada, we dare to say anything more) to the champions of France to play the quarter in April: "We kept cool with the ball."

Before the match, Tuchel was already hilarious, marveling at the microphone of RMC Sport to be part of such an evening: "The idea is to stay cool with the ball." Cool ? Before being a show, football is a sport. And before being a sport, it's a game. An aspect that the coach took to the pinnacle Tuesday; from his sideline he was not the last to have fun. His tactical approach: a wobbly disposition, and to our unpublished knowledge, a sort of pivotal pattern depending on whether the Parisians had the ball or not, the idea being to hide a defensive element – from five to four, therefore – in the offensive phase .

After the match, Kylian Mbappé explained something amazing: pushed by the wounds of Neymar and Edinson Cavani, Tuchel had drawn a totally new scheme, with a transfer of forces since the attack (preferred by the German coach) to the midfielder (privileged Tuesday in Manchester), a pattern that required countless explanations the previous days and that players experimented in vivo in a match that, in case of misfortune, could have ended their season. And Mbappé to add: "We have to stop being scared. Football is played on the pitch, not elsewhere. " Tuchel takes the forbidden senses. Since when is a Champions League eighth-finals a field of experimentation? What was Tuchel doing at Neymar's birthday party? From where he came up with the idea of ​​this strict individual marking of his middle Marquinhos on Paul Pogba, referring to a prehistory of the buried game since the players had put on their contract the fact that they would defend in zone, and no on a particular player, the individual sweeping the defender to the level of the stupid and mean watchdog?

It was Guy Roux who explained to us this story of marking bordered by contract. And he also told us this: "The day before the big matches, all the coaches of the world are tempted to make" shots ", to release something new. And almost all coaches in the world resist this temptation. " Tuchel has fallen headlong. Mbappé sometimes struggled with his new role as a runner, but the whole set produced a precise and harmonious impression, like a vernier caliper, where the defects of one were erased by the qualities of the closest teammate. .

In Manchester, Paris-SG won with a 41-year-old goalkeeper, Gianluigi Buffon. At this age, he is neither better nor worse than his alter ego Paris, Alphonse Areola, the two men sharing the Ligue 1 games. But when the Italian plays, the defenders who play in front of him are stronger than when Areola sticks to it. A player only makes sense in a context: this context is precisely the coach's playing field. Neymar is of course above that. He's good all the time, everywhere, with everyone: his absence from Manchester will at least have the merit of revealing the deeply collective nature of football.

Grégory Schneider

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