The Paris Saint-Germain boss has been rotating Gianluigi Buffon and Alphonse Areola this season on Wednesday, it ultimately led to his side’s European downfall. Sometimes, football managers get things wrong. And Paris Saint-Germain boss Thomas Tuchel must hold his hands up and admit that the decision which ultimately played its part in PSG’s latest European downfall, was his mistake. Tuchel has been praised for his management in the French capital this term, not least after a masterful tactical display at Old Trafford.
But his failure to make a definitive decision over his goalkeepers – and not just a decision, but the right one – has ended his hopes of finally taking the French champions to European glory this season.Despite the rise of Alphonse Areola, with the 26-year-old French international now seen, largely, as the club’s No.1, the German has made Gianluigi Buffon his Champions League goalkeeper this term.
Signed from Juventus last summer after two near falls in the last four years, his move was deemed one final shot for Buffon to land Europe’s premier club prize, a trophy that has eluded him during his standout career.Having missed the opening three games of the competition through suspension following his meltdown while playing for Juventus in last season’s quarter-final, Buffon had played the following four matches, ahead of Wednesday night’s last 16, second leg.
Overall, prior to Wednesday night’s visit of Manchester United , Buffon had played 19 games to Areola’s 22. It has been a balancing act, with Tuchel admitting in September: “Gianluigi Buffon, a legend, an idol of Alphonse who is at his side. Both players have very strong personalities. “We will have to fine-tune things. Gigi knows it, Alphonse knows it, if you get there, in this configuration, to be smart and generous with both, I’m sure we’ll be rewarded.”
However, in their biggest game of the season, that was far from the case, with Tuchel’s rotation coming back to burn PSG. A Buffon blunder to hand Romelu Lukaku a tap-in for United’s second goal in their shock 3-1 success, simply cannot be masked by the late VAR controversy.