Is Pochettino under huge pressure at PSG after Messi arrival?
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Lionel Messi did not appear happy after being substituted in Paris Saint-Germain’s late victory over Lyon on Sunday – but new footage has emerged that hints at the reason he was taken off while PSG were still seeking a late winning goal.
Messi, 34, joined PSG in August but has yet to make an impact at the Parc des Princes despite all the hype around his signing from Barcelona.
Making his well-awaited debut against Reims, Messi didn’t record an assist or a goal as he came off the bench, though signs looked promising that he would do well.
However, a lacklustre appearance in the 1-1 draw against Club Brugge last week was followed by a subdued performance at home to Lyon on Sunday.
Messi played well alongside Neymar and Angel Di Maria in the first half, but a poor second-half performance meant he was taken off.
Messi appeared upset with himself, exchanging antics with manager Mauricio Pochettino and refusing a handshake from his countryman as he walked off the pitch.
But new footage has emerged that shows a genuine reason as to why Messi was taken off – through a potential injury.
A video was published on Twitter of isolation camera footage showing Messi in the minutes leading up to the substitution, with the star clearly feeling some discomfort.
The Argentina captain was testing his knee by extending it constantly, appearing to grimace slightly as he did so.
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And with Pochettino clearly mindful of his star player’s wellbeing, it seemed the correct decision to remove him from the field of play.
Pochettino admitted so later in an interview, stating the switch was for the team’s best interests.
“I took the decision to take Leo off to protect him from possible injuries. We have important games coming up and we want to protect him,” Pochettino said to the press.
“These are decisions that we make for the good of the team. Everyone knows we have great players.
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“We have a very rich squad of 35 players. Then we have to make choices. With the 11 who must start and then we have to make decisions during the game.
“Afterwards, Messi told me he was fine with the decision.”
Mauro Icardi scored a stoppage-time winner for the Parisian outfit after Messi’s withdrawal to maintain their perfect Ligue 1 record.
PSG will look to make it seven wins from seven as they face Metz on Wednesday night, with their opponents bottom of the league and winless.
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