Paris Saint-Germain head coach Mauricio Pochettino said there is no doubt Lionel Messi is the best player in the world after scoring his first goal for the French giants in Tuesday’s win over Manchester City.
PSG got past Premier League champions City 2-0 at Parc des Princes, with Idrissa Gueye opening the scoring in the eighth minute before Messi sealed the win via a 74th-minute strike into the top corner.
The goal was Messi’s first in PSG colours in his fourth appearance since switching from LaLiga powerhouse Barcelona on a free transfer in the off-season.
Messi has scored more Champions League goals against City (seven) than any other player, while his seven strikes against sides managed by Pep Guardiola (two against Bayern Munich, five versus City with him as manager) is also the most of any player in the competition’s history.
Meanwhile, Messi has scored 27 Champions League goals against English clubs – 15 more than any other player. Only Cristiano Ronaldo has scored more goals against opponents of a specific nation (28, versus German teams) in Champions League history.
“I think it was amazing, his performance,” Pochettino told BT Sport. “And he scored an amazing goal.
“He’s the best player in the world, that is no doubt. Of course, [I am] happy to see him showing his football.
“Him and all the team worked really, really hard to achieve that victory. [It is] Never easy, they’re probably the best team in the world, Manchester City. That is why we’re so happy.”
PSG trailed in the key stats, with City having 18-6 shots and 7-3 shots on target, but Pochettino was delighted with his side’s defensive commitment.
Messi combined clinically with Kylian Mbappe for his goal, impressing Pochettino who has stressed that their attacking connection along with Neymar remains a “work in progress”.
“We can do it. They showed that we want to be united, to work together,” Pochettino said. “The quality is there. We have amazing quality and amazing players.
“The challenge is that all work in both phases of the game with the same capacity to suffer. Tonight we showed very good belief and I started to see the team that can work together, not only in an offensive way but a defensive one too.”
On Canal Plus, Pochettino added: “They were a great strength of the team, they sought to be in the attacking sector, and the team was always well positioned. We managed to get out in transition.”
— Paris Saint-Germain (@PSG_English) September 28, 2021
The result moves PSG into top spot in Group A with four points alongside Club Brugge, who won 2-1 at RB Leipzig, while City are third with three points.
“Today was a Champions League against Manchester City, we knew that we needed to show that being solid and help each other,” Pochettino said.
“But with time we will be better. We need to improve in other aspects. I’m very happy overall.”
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