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PSG boss Pochettino not unsettled by Man Utd rumours

SoccerNews in Ligue 1 7 Dec 2021

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Paris Saint-Germain head coach Mauricio Pochettino said he is not settled by ongoing Manchester United rumours.

Pochettino has been heavily linked with Premier League giants United, who are eyeing a long-term manager following the interim appointment of Ralf Rangnick until the end of the season.

Reports have claimed Pochettino is interested in returning to England, where he previously guided Tottenham to the 2019 Champions League final, having also worked for Southampton.

Ligue 1 leaders PSG have been criticised for their performances this season following a 1-1 draw at Lens, while speculation has claimed Lionel Messi has grown unhappy with Pochettino’s approach.

But as PSG prepare for Tuesday’s Champions League fixture with Club Brugge, Pochettino insisted he is calm in the mist of the rumours.

“I feel good,” Pochettino said during his pre-game news conference. “And I feel calmer because I have the backing of my players, I have the backing from the club which knows what we are trying to do.

“We are part of a growth process. There are two things growing, one is visible, which is the team’s style of play. And the tactics, and communications, and links within the playing style. And then there is those links in the dressing room, and our day-to-day experience, and that takes time.

“Both things need to improve at the same time, and with the right balance. There is an internal process going on in terms of settling in, and the players getting to know one another. We have built a solid group that is battling for the same target, and everyone wants to be a part of the group. That way, everyone can give as much as they can in order to achieve targets. That is the process we are part of.

“There are highs and lows. And we need to do better in terms of our play. We need to develop our ideas more, and have that flexibility that teams need to face the obstacles posed by the opposition. That is what we are going through. Based on that, I feel calm.

“This is Paris Saint Germain, and I understand that. It is a shining light so that having qualified in the Champions League, and with an 11-point lead in the league, there are still things that aren’t going well, and I agree that we have to do better in many areas.

“As for the noise surrounding the club, that is what you get when you are at a club like Paris Saint Germain. We have the coaching staff and players who know what they want and what we are working on here, so nobody will take us away from our beliefs. We are clear about our ideas and we respect everything around us. But we continue down our path.”

Messi could become just the third player – after George Weah in 1994 and Neymar in 2017 – to score in his first three consecutive home games for PSG in the Champions League.

Kylian Mbappe has five goal involvements in three matches against Brugge – his joint-most against a single opponent in the competition, along with Red Star Belgrade and Istanbul Basaksehir.

Since the start of the 2012-13 season, PSG have only been beaten once in 29 home games in the Champions League group stage (W23 D5) – 2-1 against United in October 2020. The French side have scored 79 goals across these fixtures, at an average of 2.7 per game.

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