Paris (AFP) – Mauricio Pochettino says he has the support of the Paris Saint-Germain players and he will not change course despite criticism of the style of play of the Qatar-backed French club.
The 49-year-old Argentinian was in attacking mode at his press conference on the eve of PSG’s final Champions League group game with Club Brugge.
The former Tottenham Hotspur boss defended his record since he took over earlier this year, after Thomas Tuchel was fired, saying PSG are 11 points clear in Ligue 1 and through to the knockout stage of the Champions League.
“Thank you very much, I am well, calm and feel I have the support of my players,” he said.
Pochettino has come under fire for his side lacking the elan his Spurs team did, this despite having superstars Neymar, Kylian Mbappe and Lionel Messi at his disposal.
Mbappe has scored his fair share of goals but Neymar — who is injured — and Messi have rarely been near their best.
Sergio Ramos, their high-profile defensive signing in the close season, has proven the biggest disappointment, the former Real Madrid star playing just once due to injury.
Although clear in the title race, they have drawn their last two in Ligue 1 and were fortunate to share the points in the 1-1 draw against Lens on Saturday.
“I understand that people criticise the team, we respect all points of view,” said Pochettino.
“Could we play better? Yes.
“Can we improve certain aspects? Yes.
“But the spotlight shone on PSG and noise around the club will not help us advance.”
Pochettino, who has been linked with the job at Manchester United where Ralf Rangnick has been installed as interim manager, said PSG have a strategy.
“We, players and staff, have clear ideas about where we are going,” said Pochettino.
“We are in the process of growing, we are progressing.
“The team is making advances in other aspects too, tactics, communication, the bonds created in competing for places and in the dressing room, in order to establish an understanding on the pitch.”
Pochettino said he and the players would not be swayed by the criticism.
“The process will not be altered for all the noise and criticism,” he said.
“We are winning, we lead Ligue 1 by 11 points, we are second but have qualified in a very tough Champions League group, with a Manchester City team who have been working together for five to six years.
“In spite of the tempest we will not throw overboard our ideas, because we know that after the storm there will come sunny days.”
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