Paris Saint-Germain “must build a team” from their vast array of talent, so says Mauricio Pochettino.
Lionel Messi has headlined five new star recruits at PSG this transfer window, with Gianluigi Donnarumma, Achraf Hakimi, Sergio Ramos and Georginio Wijnaldum also linking up with Neymar, Kylian Mbappe and Co.
Messi has trained this week, but he and Neymar were not involved as PSG beat Brest 4-2 on Friday.
However, it was once more the absence of Marquinhos – who was on the bench after his break following the Copa America – and Ramos, who will not be available until September, which was felt the most as PSG conceded twice for the second match running. In total, they have now let in five goals across their three games.
Though it has not stopped them taking all nine points on offer so far, Pochettino knows he has to strike a balance.
“It was a very close match. We started well, we led 2-0 by dominating the match,” he told a news conference.
“We should have scored one more goal, it was an open game that gave the opponents some chances. We suffered in the last 10 minutes. I’m very happy to take three points on difficult ground, against a team that has started the season well.
“We are at the start of the season, we can see how difficult it is for all the teams to win a game. There are things to improve. In defence, we have to prevent the transition play which can hurt us.
“We have a lot of names of players that shine, but we have to build a team, that’s the challenge. It won’t be easy, we have to find a balance between the talents that we have. It will take time.”
— Paris Saint-Germain (@PSG_English) August 20, 2021
It was a sentiment echoed by Presnel Kimpembe, who put in a disjointed display at the back while wearing the captain’s armband.
“We know that we were playing an away game against a team not easy to play,” the France international told Amazon Prime Video.
“The team is not yet complete, we still have links to create. There are new players, we have to adapt.”
One major bonus from Friday’s win was Mbappe getting his first goal of the campaign, nodding in what was just his fourth headed goal in Ligue 1, and his first in the competition since March 2017.
Angel Di Maria also made a goalscoring return, with the Argentina playmaker lobbing in PSG’s fourth to settle the contest just nine minutes after his introduction.
Mauro Icardi trudged off injured late on, which may well open the door for the formidable front three of Messi, Neymar and Mbappe to start against Reims next week.
“The week [of training] has been very good for Leo, so we hope that next week he will already be part of the team,” said Pochettino, who also confirmed Icardi would undergo scans over the weekend.
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