Football

Pochettino: Messi, Neymar and Mbappe need time to gel

Paris Saint-Germain coach Mauricio Pochettino warned that it would take some time for his formidable attacking trio of Lionel Messi, Neymar and Kylian Mbappe to shine, after their dismal outing in the French side's Champions League opener – a 1-1 draw at Club Brugge – on Thursday morning (Sept 16, Singapore time).

Messi hit the woodwork on his first start with PSG, but he failed to add to his 120 goals in the competition, while Neymar was hugely disappointing and Mbappe limped off the pitch injured after setting up Ander Herrera for the opening goal.

It was the first time the three attacking players were together on the field and they struggled to find each other and create space against a compact Belgian side.

 

 

“It requires time for them to shine together,” said Pochettino.

“It requires work. I had made it clear that we’re not a team yet, we have to work for this.”

Messi and Neymar, starting on the flanks, left the fullbacks exposed and Brugge exploited the space with a strong collective performance as PSG’s midfield was almost non-existent in the absence of the injured Marco Verratti.

That prompted Pochettino to replace Leandro Paredes with Danilo, and Georginio Wijnaldum with Julian Draxler, but to no effect.

“We needed more consistency and more fluidity. We made too many mistakes,” Pochettino explained.

“But despite all this, I’m satisfied with the players. We have to keep calm and keep working.”

PSG are two points behind Manchester City who demolished RB Leipzig 6-3, two weeks before the Ligue 1 side take on the English Premier League champions at the Parc des Princes. – REUTERS

Football