Football

PSG boss Pochettino says ‘no issues’ with Messi after substitution drama

PSG manager Mauricio Pochettino has insisted there are “no issues” with Lionel Messi after the Paris Saint-Germain superstar’s reaction to being substituted during Sunday’s 2-1 win over Ligue 1 rivals Lyon.

Messi had a frustrated look on his face as he walked past PSG head coach Pochettino, having been replaced by full-back Achraf Hakimi in the 76th minute of the league meeting.

Pochettino and Messi briefly exchanged words before the latter snubbed a handshake from his coach, Messi was making his home debut at the Parc des Princes following his blockbuster arrival from Barcelona, sat on the bench next to surprised teammates.

Pochettino and Messi exchanged words when the latter was subbed off in the 76th minute in a Ligue 1 fixture against Lyon on Sunday evening. | PHOTO: Courtesy |

The Argentine was involved in six shots (four attempts, two chances created) against Lyon, and only Kylian Mbappe against Clermont where he managed seven shots has managed better in a league game so far this season for PSG.

The six-time Ballon d’Or winner Messi also had 65 touches and made 48 passes with an accuracy of 83.3 percent against Lyon as PSG had to come from behind to secure the win.

Pochettino speaking in a post-match media conference said: “I think everyone knows that we have many great players, with a 35-man squad.

“We have to make choices, within the matchday squad and then during the game, keeping in mind what’s best for the team and every player.”

PSG manager

PSG manager Mauricio Pochettino. | PHOTO: Courtesy |

“Sometimes the decisions are positive, or not, but that’s what managers are there to do on the sidelines, to make decisions. It can please people or not.

“I asked him how he was and he said he was fine, no issues.”

PSG secured victory over Lyon following a dramatic injury-time header from substitute Mauro Icardi from Mbappe’s cross after Neymar’s penalty had earlier canceled out Lucas Paqueta’s opening goal for Lyon.

Pochettino’s PSG is now five points clear of Marseille at the top of Ligue 1 after making six wins from six games. PSG have achieved a flawless start from their first six games for the third time after 2017-18 and 2018-19 – on both those occasions they went on to be crowned Ligue 1 champions.

“It’s very positive for us,” Pochettino said of their start to the Ligue 1 campaign. “After the difficult game [against Club Brugge in the Champions League], this was important for us. Lyon is a very good team that plays well.

“We conceded that goal in the second half. The team needed to show some character.

“We’re in a period where we’re trying a lot of things. We have to work on it in training, but it’s difficult because we have a game every three days, and the priority is that the players recover.

“We can only do video sessions. It’s not an excuse, we need to improve.”

Pochettino’s side is regarded by many this year’s UEFA Champions League title contenders after the sumptuous summer transfer window the club enjoyed. They are paired with Club Brugge whom they draw 1-1 last week, Manchester City, and RB Leipzig in Group A.

PSG will be back to league action in midweek when they travel to Meltz on Wednesday.

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