PSG manager Mauricio Pochettino recently spoke at length about the difficulties of managing Lionel Messi, Neymar and Kylian Mbappe. He said so, as the three world-class attackers play differently.
Pochettino was announced as PSG manager in January 2021, and has since overseen the arrival of some big-name players. Apart from Messi, PSG also signed Sergio Ramos, Gianluigi Donnarumma and Georginio Wijnaldum to make for one of the strongest rosters in club football.
However, it has not been a bed of roses for Mauricio Pochettino. He said that there is always disappointment if the team does not score a handful of goals every game: He said:
“This season is massive and all the people believe that we should be winning the games before we play – after one minute, if you have not scored three, four or five goals, the disappointment is massive.”
The Argentinian obviously knew what he was getting into when he arrived after a stint with Tottenham Hotspur. The signing of Messi, arguably the greatest player of all time, has only resulted in increased expectations. Pochettino said it is not easy getting Messi and the two other star forwards playing well in the same team:
“Each of the three can be the king of any club in the world,” said Pochettino. “But you have three kings in the same club, three with different needs and who need different things from the team.”
“Mbappé needs space to run and high tempo in the transition. Neymar needs to have the ball and feel the ball, and sometimes he needs to drive the ball. And Messi needs maybe another tempo in the game. That is not easy to put all together.”
Mauricio Pochettino looks back on his Spurs stint as he attempts to make PSG the best team in the world
The Argentinian coach is known for instilling in his teams not just defensive resilience, but the ability to play beautiful football from the back. Now, with no manager ever having a more stacked offensive squad in the game’s history, Pochettino finds himself in an unfamiliar situation:
“We’re working to find the right way to play in which Mbappé feels comfortable; Neymar and Messi feel comfortable and then the rest of the team understand that sometimes we need to increase the tempo and sometimes we can play on the space, sometimes we need to play more horizontal and build in the slow possession.”
“It’s not an easy task, but it’s an amazing challenge which we are enjoying, a beautiful time to have the possibility to work with these amazing players.
Pochettino was Tottenham’s manager for more than five years. During this period, he managed a notoriously-miserly club chairman in Daniel Levy. Nevertheless, he built quality teams with a stringent budget, and managed to take Tottenham Hotspur to their first-ever UEFA Champions League final appearance.
In such a scenario, Mauricio Pochettino can be forgiven for fondly remembering his job at the Lillywhites:
“In the beginning, it was really painful to watch Tottenham’s games, really painful. Because when you feel a club is like home, it’s not easy to split from this feeling. Today is 17 November, and in two days, it is the anniversary. The two years since we left Tottenham. It’s in my mind, no?”
Mauricio Pochettino also revealed that he still watches Tottenham games, and wants the best for his former club and players:
“When I watch the games now, it’s always with a smile and trying to support them because when you love a club and you feel at home, always you wish the best for the people that you know.”
“I love Tottenham fans and I love Tottenham, and I am so happy that Harry is in Tottenham. But I want the best for Harry, and I want the best for Tottenham. That’s it, no?
During his time with Tottenham Hotspur, the Argentinian built a legacy, although he did not have a single trophy to show for his efforts.
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Nevertheless, Pochettino is still only 49, and managing arguably the strongest offensive club team of all time. The Argentinian knows that he has more than enough time and now the squad to stack up trophies as well.