Mauricio Pochettino has spoken about Paris Saint-Germain’s current situation in the press conference before their final UEFA Champions League game against Club Brugge later on Tuesday.
PSG is 11 points clear at the top of Ligue 1 despite their recent poor showing but the poor run of Pochettino’s squad (two wins, two draws and a loss) have kept the negative press surrounding Pochettino’s time in Paris alive.
After their most recent match which ended as a draw away to RC Lens, rumours about seven-time Ballon d’Or winner Lionel Messi being unhappy with Pochettino began to surface.
The reports also claim that Messi’s sentiments have caused some fraction in the PSG dressing room, as he’s not convinced about his compatriot’s ability to guide PSG to a successful season.
Pochettino has struggled to find the right balance for his squad of superstars, made even more difficult following the summer acquisitions of Messi, Gianluigi Donnarumma, Sergio Ramos, Achraf Hakimi and Georginio Wijnaldum.
L’Equipe claims that Messi and his associates fear Pochettino does not have full control of the dressing room and has lost the respect of a number of senior players.
The L’Equipe report states that Messi believes Pochettino’s game plan to be “too restrictive” and that the manager is not knowledgeable enough about the particular strengths of his players to use them to their fullest.
Pochettino is unfazed by the team’s situation, however.
“I’m feeling good, I’m calm,” he said in his pre-match press conference on Monday ahead of the match with Club Brugge.
“I am working in an organisation which is aware of the work we are putting in. I’m feeling the club’s support.
“I’m calm because I know the process we’ve set out on.”
Rumours are part of our life at PSG, Pochettino insists
The 49-year-old manager who has not been able to catch a break in the news since joining PSG also alluded to the fact that rumours will always happen as long as he’s at a club of PSG’s calibre.
The Argentine said: “You have what’s happening on the pitch but also internally, in the adaptation, communication, and the fact that links are being created.
“We know that in a club like PSG, on which the light shines very brightly, rumours are part of our life.
“In the middle of these storms, we will never stray away from our ideas. Because we know that after the storm, the sun will come out.
“And then we’ll be able to make those who love the club benefit from our work.”
Messi needs to be sincere, says Robert Lewandowski
Elsewhere, Robert Lewandowski has come out to express his real feelings after losing to PSG forward Messi at the 2021 Ballon d’Or awards ceremony in November.
Messi, in his acceptance speech, gave plaudits to the Bayern Munich striker and urged France Football to give Lewandowski the 2020 Ballon d’Or. “I would like to mention Robert Lewandowski, it’s been a real honour to compete with you,” Messi said.
“Everyone knows and we agree that you were the winner last year. I think France Football should award you your 2020 Ballon d’Or – you deserve it and you should have it at home.”
The Polish striker, however, expressed sadness at the loss of both awards and also expressed a hope that Messi was genuinely praising him and not just being performative.
“I felt sadness,” Lewandowski told Polish outlet Kanale Sportowym. “I can’t deny it.
“I can’t say I was happy, on the contrary. I have a feeling of sadness. To be so close, to compete with Messi, of course I respect how he plays and what he has achieved. The mere fact that I was able to compete with him shows me the level that I was able to reach.”
“I’m not that enthusiastic about getting the 2020 award,” Lewandowski added, when asked about his thoughts on Messi’s comments to France football to give him the 2020 award.
“I would like it [Messi’s 2020 Ballon d’Or statement] to be a sincere and courteous statement from a great player and not just empty words.”