After coach Mauricio Pochettino failed to help Paris Saint Germain scale through Real Madrid, there were a series of speculations that the French club would sack him.
The rumors were born out of the fact that PSG had all it takes to knock out Real Madrid from the UEFA Champions League round of 16.
Aside from the fact that they have one of the most dreaded assemblies of football superstars, PSG visited Santiago Bernabeu stadium with a 1-0 win advantage. All that was expected from Mauricio Pochettino and his boys was to draw with Madrid and qualify for the quarter-final stage of the Champions League.
Unfortunately for the French giants that have been trying to win their first UEFA Champions League title for over 20 years, Real Madrid knocked them out of the competition 3-2 on aggregate.
PSG lost 3-1 in Spain after the club’s defense made two costly mistakes that the club could not recover from and their dominance in the game failed to yield the desired result.
To quench the viral speculation that PSG might sack Mauricio Pochettino for failing to help the club progress further in this season’s UEFA Champions League campaign, PSG’s director of football, Leonardo stressed that the Argentine coach would remain a part of the club’s project.
The football administrator insisted that it was not time to think about sacking the coach as the team need to be together for the rest of the season.
“We shouldn’t throw everything in the bin,” Leonardo told RMC Sport. “We shouldn’t start from scratch after every loss. The objective is to win the Champions League, and until half-time we were fine.
“We have to look to improve this team and maintain morale to play in Ligue 1 and to finish the season well. We should stay together.
“Pochettino is still part of the project for this season. It’s not the time to think about that.”
On his analysis of the UEFA Champions League round of 16-second leg game, Leonardo added: “It’s a tough one to take. We can’t bury everything that was done. It’s hard to analyze.
“The incident of the foul on Donnarumma was crucial, but we struggled to manage that moment. We lost control. We need to look for solutions. But it’s a shame that a referee’s decision can be so influential in that sort of moment.
“But we should stay calm. We made errors, we should change things but we shouldn’t look back on everything. It’s difficult but, up until the halftime we were a well-organized team.”
Coach Mauricio Pochettino of PSG is upset
Coach Mauricio Pochettino and PSG had Lionel Messi, Neymar, and Kylian Mbappe on the pitch for 90 minutes but still blew away a 2-0 lead to end their UEFA Champions League journey for this season 3-2 on aggregate.
According to the 50-year-old Argentine coach, the most painful part of the defeat was that PSG dominated Real Madrid for most parts of the game. But everything changed after one hour of football as Madrid’s Karim Benzema scored a hat-trick within 17 minutes.
PSG’s talisman Kylian Mbappe scored three goals, two were ruled out for offside and the club’s goalkeeper, Donnarumma gave the ball away for Madrid’s opener.
“The first goal completely changed the game,” Pochettino said. “For an hour, we were better than Real Madrid. The atmosphere changed in the stadium.
“We made some mistakes after that, we can’t say we didn’t. The worst feeling is that we were on the better side, but we lost the tie in 10 minutes.
“Paris St-Germain have been chasing the Champions League for several years now. I’m really disappointed, upset – but these things can happen. The next few weeks are not going to be easy.”
🗣 "We have a strong feeling of injustice for the first goal we conceded."— Football Daily (@footballdaily) March 10, 2022
Mauricio Pochettino felt that Karim Benzema fouled goalkeeper Donnarumma during the first goal and says it changed the momentum of the game pic.twitter.com/OXDc3vMbpW