The Argentine has admitted that he was “so happy” to see the six-time Ballon d’Or winner score his first goal for the club
Mauricio Pochettino has apologised for celebrating Lionel Messi’s goal against Manchester City and explained why he got so excited after the Paris Saint-Germain star’s strike in the 2-0 victory.
PSG moved to the top of their Champions League group by beating City at Parc des Princes on Tuesday night, with Idrissa Gueye opening the scoring early in the first half before a moment of magic from Messi deep into the second.
The six-time Ballon d’Or winner played a neat one-two with Kylian Mbappe on the edge of the box before curling a first time shot past Ederson, sparking wild scenes of celebration on the home bench, which even the usually calm and composed Pochettino got involved in.
What’s been said?
“For many years I watched Messi scoring goals, always with the opposite team,” the PSG boss said post-match. “The first (goal) for our side, for my side, well I had to celebrate it, I am sorry!”
Pochettino was delighted to see Messi grab his first goal for the French champions since joining the club following his departure from Barcelona, and expects his influence to grow as he continues to settle into his new surroundings.
“You need this type of performance and players like him need to feel the back of the net,” he added. “He needs to create links within the team after 20 years in Barcelona. He’s feeling different things, there’s a lot of new feelings for him.
“First goal in our side, now that we are in the same side I enjoyed a lot and so happy to be here enjoying Leo’s first goal. He’s top class, I know I’m not saying anything new but I think with time he still has room to improve a lot.”
PSG lay down Champions League marker
City knocked PSG out of the Champions League at the semi-final stage last term, but Pochettino’s men produced a far more disciplined defensive display this time around, and utilised the attacking flair of Messi, Neymar and Mbappe to great effect on the break.
Pochettino is confident that his all-star team will keep improving with each passing game, as he told RMC Sport: “I think the team put in a good performance. We were able to take the pressure during the difficult periods of the game, against a very good Manchester City side. We were able to play, to attack when it was needed.
“Teams are built over time, these kinds of matches help do that. We’re trying to grow, to build something. We have a very positive squad that knows what it needs to do.
“It was a great match from our players, they have to be congratulated. It was a great collective effort. Of course, there are things to improve.”