Thomas Tuchel, PSG focussed on the details ahead of ICC clash with Arsenal
SINGAPORE -- Thomas Tuchel will come up against his predecessor Unai Emery when Paris Saint-Germain meet Arsenal in the International Champions Cup on Saturday, and the German has reason to smile with a more experienced squad available to him in Asia than the one he had in Austria last week.
The young Parisien side went down 3-1 to Bayern Munich in Klagenfurt with Timothy Weah scoring PSG's consolation effort. Since then, though, Tuchel has welcomed back the likes of Julian Draxler, Giovani Lo Celso and Kevin Trapp, with Angel Di Maria set to link up with his teammates before the weekend is out.
The former Borussia Dortmund and Mainz 05 man is happy to be getting so many of his more established names back, and he let it show at a news conference at Singapore's National Stadium earlier on Friday.
"Smiling the way that I am is giving the players and the club great energy," Tuchel explained of his happy demeanour. "It is a good atmosphere to create."
Di Maria is just about to return but fellow Argentina international Giovani Lo Celso has already been back in training for the best part of a week.
Both were part of the Albiceleste side that crashed out of the World Cup at the hands of eventual winners France in the last 16, but Lo Celso did not play a single minute, which is why he was given less time off.
Tuchel is excited to add another experienced head to his squad before heading off to Shenzhen, China for the Trophee des Champions clash with Monaco.
"I am looking forward to Angel's return and I am glad that he will be back in two days," said Tuchel. "Others will follow. There is no set date for everybody and I can explain why.
"Each player has a different profile -- some are experienced, others have played all of the last season, some played a lot before the World Cup, some were injured before the World Cup and others have been coming back from injury.
"There is no common day for all of the players of one nationality to return. Not for the Brazilians, nor for the Argentinians. We have considered each case individually, which is why Angel was given a few more days than Giovani. We have tried to manage each player individually."
Attention to detail has been Tuchel's mantra in his early days with PSG and the French champions' first training session in Singapore was testament to that.
The 44-year-old arrived early to set out the equipment for the drills that were to be done, ensured that he had a member of staff on a raised platform observing the players, and was very hands on with his squad once they got to work and as the session grew in intensity.
Tuchel has paid attention to his players needs as well, cancelling a planned training session on Friday morning because he felt that the Thursday evening session had worked them too hard.
"It is complicated for us as we are travelling a lot," the ex-Dortmund boss said as he explained his reasoning for such detailed planning and management of his group. "Before and after Singapore -- we were in Austria and then we will go to Shenzhen in China.
"We have to be smart in managing the players individually, while our season also starts very early. Everyone cannot wait to be back, though, they are all happy to come back.
"We all needed some rest after last season -- it was long, and some people played up to 70 matches nonstop because of the World Cup. With players of this level, you must give them time to recover."
PSG's performances, more so than the results, against Arsenal and Atletico Madrid in Singapore should illustrate the method behind Tuchel's madness.
If all goes to plan, the French capital outfit should be more competitive against Monaco in the Trophee des Champions in China than common sense says they should be, with so many players still returning from holiday.
Despite post-World Cup preseason regularly being far from ideal for the top clubs, Tuchel is making the best of it and he could be richly rewarded if his new-look PSG make a strong start to the campaign as the likes of Kylian Mbappe, Edinson Cavani and Neymar work their way back to full fitness.
Jonathan Johnson covers PSG and the French national team for ESPN FC. Twitter: @Jon_LeGossip.