Is Pochettino under huge pressure at PSG after Messi arrival?
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Lionel Messi has admitted he’s relieved at scoring his first PSG goal following his summer move from Barcelona. The veteran has endured a slow start to life at the Parc des Princes. But he came alive against Manchester City on Tuesday night, showing old manager Pep Guardiola exactly what he’s missing in the process.
Messi joined PSG back in the summer transfer window after Barcelona’s financial situation meant they had no choice but to let him go for free.
It’s been a slow start to life in France for the Argentina international, who went into Tuesday’s clash with City without a goal to his name.
However, following Idrissa Gueye’s strike, the wait came to a spectacular end.
Messi exchanged a neat one-two with Kylian Mbappe before rifling a shot into the top corner with his trademark left foot.
It was a moment of magic from the 34-year-old, who jubilantly celebrated as he soaked in the adoration from the Parc des Princes crowd.
And, speaking to Canal Plus after the game, Messi admitted he had previously been ‘desperate’ to open his account for his new club.
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“It’s true that I was getting desperate to score my first goal,” he told the French broadcaster.
“I hadn’t played much recently and I had only played once here at home but I am settling into the team little by little.
“The more us forwards play together, the better our relationship will be. We all need to grow together and improve and keep giving our best.”
Messi’s goal prompted a rare celebration from Mauricio Pochettino, who is usually a calm and collected character on the touchline.
And the PSG boss also spoke out after his compatriot got off the mark, saying: “Usually I don’t celebrate goals, I keep it to myself.
“But today, for Messi, I did.
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“I spent years watching Messi score goals from the opponent’s side – so this time, scoring for my team, that’s great.”
While it was a fine night for Messi, there was a rather bizarre moment involving the former Barcelona star.
When Kevin De Bruyne went to take a free kick, the Argentine then lay down behind the wall to avoid the ball going underneath it.
It was a strange sight seeing Messi, and later Mbappe, getting their kit dirty by doing this.
And Rio Ferdinand feels it was ‘disrespectful’ of PSG to do this to Messi, saying to BT Sport afterwards: “The moment Mauricio Pochettino asked him to do that at the training ground, someone should’ve gone in there and said, ‘No, no, no, no, no, no.’
“This doesn’t happen to Leo Messi.
“No, no, no, no. You can’t. It’s disrespectful, I wouldn’t have it.
“If I was in that team, I’d have to say, ‘Listen, I’ll lay down for you.’
“Sorry, I couldn’t have him laying down like that. I can’t see it.
“He don’t get his kit dirty, that’s not what Messi does.”
City boss Guardiola, meanwhile, admitted that Messi was ‘impossible’ to stop when fully firing.
“We dealt with PSG first of all, but we know it’s impossible to control Leo for 90 minutes,” Guardiola said.
“He was not much in touch with the ball – of course he was coming back from injury, he needed a bit of rhythm – but we know quite well when he can run and get close to the ball, he is unstoppable.
“What we have done is minimise, as much as possible, these kind of options and create the chances that we could create and I’m satisfied with the way we played.
“People can’t deny that we were there.
“We arrived here, we did our game, but it’s always a risk when you lose the ball and they can make one pass, especially with (Marco) Verratti, an exceptional, extraordinary player, and make contact with Neymar and Messi and they can run, it’s difficult.
“We did a really good game, but we should have scored goals and we didn’t do it. That’s why we lost.”
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