Get French Football News features writer Adam White has claimed that PSG boss Mauricio Pochettino sent out a clear message that he is treating all of his players equally in Tuesday’s Champions League clash with Manchester City.
What happened during the game?
It was a night of celebration in the French capital for the home side, as PSG took a first half lead through Idrissa Gueye, before Lionel Messi wrapped up the 2-0 victory by scoring his first goal for the club since his summer move from Barcelona.
However, it was another incident that Messi was involved in which grabbed plenty of headlines as well. In the final minutes of the contest, City won a free-kick on the edge of the box, and the Argentine icon was instructed to lie down behind the wall to block a potential strike along the ground.
He duly obliged, but former Manchester United defender Rio Ferdinand described the incident as “disrespectful” towards Messi after game on BT Sport, as quoted by talkSPORT.
What did White make of Messi being made to lie down behind the wall?
White sees things differently to Ferdinand, and feels that Pochettino wanted to show that no player is above doing the ‘dirty work’ for the team, not even Messi.
Speaking to GIVEMESPORT about Pochettino’s controversial decision, the Ligue 1 expert said: “I think it says a number of things. I think it says that the fact that he’s willing to ask those sort of stars to do that, yeah, it says that he’s at least trying to treat everybody on a level playing field, which is obviously what he should be doing.”
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Did Pochettino make the right decision?
It seems that Pochettino is keen to build a strong team spirit at PSG, much like he did at Tottenham. It worked for him during his time in north London, as he took Spurs to a Champions League final in 2019.
Then again, things might be a little different at PSG. The French giants have the likes of Messi, Neymar and Kylian Mbappe in their ranks, three genuine superstars of the modern game. Will they really appreciate being treated like everyone else, or do they need that star treatment from time to time?
It is certainly debatable but one thing is for sure: Pochettino has shown that he is not afraid to make big decisions that will not always be popular with everyone.
Whether this attitude will work out for him remains to be seen, and it will be fascinating to see how the Pochettino-Messi dynamic develops over the next few weeks as the six-time Ballon d’Or winner settles into life in Paris.