Sports, Football

Messi, Neymar, Mbappe 'need time to shine'


By Reuters
Published : 16 Sep 2021 08:20 PM

Paris St Germain coach Mauricio Pochettino warned that it would take some time for his formidable attacking trio to shine after they disappointed in a 1-1 draw at Club Brugge in their Champions League opener on Wednesday.

Lionel Messi hit the woodwork on his first start with PSG but he failed to add to his 120 goals in the competition, while Neymar was hugely disappointing and KylianMbappe limped off the pitch injured after setting up Ander Herrera for the opening goal.

It was the first time the three attacking players were together on the field and they struggled to find each other and create space against a compact Belgian side.

"It requires time for them to shine together," said Pochettino.

"It requires work. I had made it clear that we're not a team yet, we have to work for this."

Messi and Neymar, starting on the flanks, left the fullbacks exposed and Brugge exploited the space with a strong collective performance as PSG's midfield was almost non-existent in the absence of the injured Marco Verratti.

That prompted Pochettino to replace Leandro Paredes with Danilo and GeorginioWijnaldum with Julian Draxler but to no effect.

"We needed more consistency and more fluidity. We made too many mistakes," Pochettino explained.

"But despite all this I'm satisfied with the players. We have to keep calm and keep working."

PSG are two points behind Manchester City who demolished RB Leipzig 6-3, two weeks before the Ligue 1 side take on the Premier League champions at the Parc des Princes.