Pochettino must solve a serious puzzle at PSG: the arrival of Lionel Messi

Mauricio Pochettino has a real problem to solve in Lionel Messi; plus, Mbappe and Neymar also have their dispute

PSG head coach Mauricio Pochettino admits his team remains far from its best following the arrival of Lionel Messi in the summer.

“It is a fact, not an opinion, that we are a work in progress. There needs to be some common sense. That is not up for debate,” Pochettino said at Monday’s pre-game press conference in Paris.

Paris Saint-Germain were widely criticised for their performance in drawing their opening Champions League Group A match away to Club Brugge in Belgium a fortnight ago while City trounced RB Leipzig 6-3.

That means failure to beat Guardiola’s team at the Parc des Princes on Tuesday will put them in a potentially tricky position, at least when it comes to advancing top of their group.

The Citizens beat PSG in the semi-finals last season before losing to Chelsea in the final.

“We will be playing against Manchester City who have in my opinion the best coach in the world in Pep Guardiola,” said Pochettino.

“They are also building and their dream is also to win the Champions League — it is never an obligation because there are 10 or 12, maybe even 15 teams, trying to do the same thing.

“It is a dream for us too. This club is 50 years old and has always been looking to establish itself as the best in Europe but it is a process that needs patience, time and investment.

“Manchester City are far ahead of us in the process, but this is a game of football and anything can happen.”

Lionel Messi is expected to return to the squad after sitting out PSG’s last two matches in Ligue 1 with a minor knee problem.

Mauricio Pochettino plays down Kylian Mbappe-Neymar dispute

Kylian Mbappe and Neymar laughed off any talk of a disagreement ahead of the visit of Man City, reveals boss Mauricio Pochettino.

The PSG pair found themselves in the spotlight at the weekend following a 2-0 win over Montpellier.

Mbappe, who had been substituted, was captured on Canal+ cameras telling Idrissa Gueye that Neymar ‘doesn’t pass’ to him like he does with others after the Brazilian teed up Julian Draxler for the second goal.

Some French media outlets have spoken of a strained relationship between the pair but Pochettino has since revealed that the attackers had a conversation in training to put the problem to bed.

“They are fantastic guys. These things happen. There are always things between top players, they are competitors who want to win and help the team.

“These things happen and I have spoken to them today individually and they have also spoken to each other. In training, they were laughing.

“Their target is to win and help the team achieve so if there is a small incident sometimes that can create a big wave that is actually all talk outside the squad. In reality it is a minor problem. It is really nothing,” Pochettino said.

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