Soccer

Pochettino explains why Messi, Neymar & Mbappe misfired in PSG’s surprise draw with Club Brugge

The superstar attacking trio started together for the first time in a Champions League match but all three were kept quiet in a 1-1 draw

Mauricio Pochettino says his fearsome attacking trident of Lionel Messi, Neymar and Kylian Mbappe failed to fire against Club Brugge because Paris Saint-Germain are still looking to “create a team”.

The Ligue 1 giants have assembled a star-studded cast of individuals at Parc des Princes, but getting them to perform in harmony as a collective may prove trickier than expected.

Pochettino admits that is already proving to be the case, with a trio that boast over 1,100 club goals between them misfiring in the Champions League on Wednesday as they drew a blank in a 1-1 draw with Brugge.

What has been said?

Quizzed as to why a World Cup winner, a man with six Ballons d’Or to his name and an iconic Brazil international struggled to sparkle, Pochettino told reporters: “We know we have to improve. That’s not the problem for me.

“I’m happy with the defensive effort of the attackers. We have to be stronger in other areas of the game. 

“[We] need to compete, to know each other, to understand each other, to play together to succeed with all three but that was not the problem.

“We weren’t strong enough in a Champions League match. We are not happy with the result and the performance, we know we have to do better.

“We have a magnificent group of players, we now have to find a defensive and offensive organisation. We need time.”

Pressed again on the lack of connection between three modern-day greats, Pochettino added: “We need time to work for them to build an understanding. That’s been clear and we’ve said that in recent days. We still have to create a team.”

Will PSG’s front three come good?

Mauricio Pochettino PSG

Teething issues were always going to be a problem for PSG early on this season as they try and fit a collection of world-class performers into the same starting XI.

Messi was making his first start for the club against Brugge, having only taken in 24 minutes of action for his new employers on the back of a stunning summer switch from Barcelona.

Neymar and Mbappe have also faced questions of their fitness since the 2021-22 campaign got underway, with even the very best having to play their way into peak form.

The expectation is that PSG will click at some stage, which is a frightening prospect for their domestic and continental rivals – with sights in the French capital being firmly locked on more major silverware at home and abroad.

Pochettino’s side will be back in Ligue 1 action on Sunday when playing host to Lyon.

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