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Lionel Messi

Messi, Mbappe & Neymar given PSG substitution promise by Pochettino

09:56 GMT 19/11/2021
Messi Neymar Mbappe PSG 2021-09-28
The Ligue 1 club's coach admits he will continue to give a star-studded attacking trio as many minutes as they are able to take in

Lionel Messi, Kylian Mbappe and Neymar have been offered substitution assurances by Paris Saint-Germain coach Mauricio Pochettino, with the Argentine saying: “Why take them off the pitch?”

The Ligue 1 heavyweights have continued to invest heavily in the very best talent available, with an enviable collection of attacking firepower acquired at Parc des Princes.

Questions have been asked of whether so many world-class performers can work together in the same starting XI, but Pochettino has vowed not to give up on that experiment as there is too much potential in his ranks for tactical tinkering to be considered.

What has been said?

The PSG coach told L'Equipe of his fearsome frontline: “They are the best in the world. Why take them off the pitch?

“Even if they do not play as one expects, with their talent they can be decisive at any time. That is why the club made the financial effort it did to sign them.

“You cannot evaluate this type of footballer the same as others, because they are different.”

The bigger picture

Neymar and Mbappe have completed every Ligue 1 fixture they have started this season, with Pochettino refusing to remove them from the fold, but Messi has been taken off on two occasions.

The six-time Ballon d’Or winner is still waiting on his first goal in the French top flight, but niggling injuries have been holding him back slightly and are responsible for him needing to be replaced in a couple of contests.

Pochettino has only acted when his hand was forced, with the likes of Mauro Icardi and Angel Di Maria also competing for game time, and insists he will continue to make decisions that are in the club’s best interests.

He said of the expectation he is working under in Paris: “When PSG come looking for you, it is so that you adapt to an existing structure, to the players recruited, to get what the club wants.

“What does PSG want? PSG want to win. Win the Champions League, the championship, the cup, all matches.

“We didn’t come looking to build a project, asking what we needed to develop our ideas, or what we like. We came here to adapt and to win, with the structure and the characteristics of the players who are here. It’s very different.

“At PSG, the project is to win, and to win now. The adaptation of the staff is fundamental to find the dynamic that will bring you results. Without results, you cannot hope to get to the type of football that in the end we all want: we all want to play a good game, win 5-0, etc.”

PSG will be back in action on Saturday at home to Nantes, with Messi and Mbappe hoping to be involved in that fixture while Neymar finds himself back on the sidelines with a thigh problem.

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