Poch: ‘Too many’ stars during my time at PSG

Former Paris Saint-Germain boss Mauricio Pochettino has hit out at the club’s recruitment and said there were “too many” stars at the club during his time in charge of the Ligue 1 giants.

Pochettino was sacked by PSG at the end of last season following a campaign in which his side won the French title but were knocked out of the Champions League round of 16 in embarrassing fashion by Real Madrid.

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The former Tottenham Hotspur boss had to juggle a star-studded lineup at the Parc des Princes which included Lionel Messi, Kylian Mbappe and Neymar, while also dealing with uncertainty over Mbappe’s future. In an interview with Spanish outlet Relevo, Pochettino suggested he was not even able to pick penalty takers as PSG manager.

“You need to adapt constantly because there was too much greatness,” Pochettino said.

“For Barca to have Messi or for Madrid to count on Cristiano [Ronaldo] is a blessing. But when you put too many players on the pitch who all need their place and to be No. 1, there can be confusion.

“In the end, when you play, it’s 11 players with only one ball. There was a penalty and who takes it? It’s not even the manager’s decision.

“Our ability [Pochettino and his coaching staff’s] was that of being people who kept the consensus, who were flexible to give each person what they needed. The thing is each one needed something different with their circumstances, depending on how they were doing in sporting terms, in family terms etc.

“We gave cause for there to be certain stability at PSG this year and for the same pieces to be maintained.”

Pochettino also said he only found out about Mbappe’s decision to stay at PSG “a few hours” before the announcement in May, despite being close to the France forward.

“They asked me in a news conference if I saw myself with Mbappe at PSG and I said yes because he had a year left on his contract,” Pochettino said. “[Carlo] Ancelotti [once] said that thing about how managers can’t say the truth.

“Kylian was always calm, he always told me that he hadn’t taken a decision. I knew what everyone [else] knew. He told me: ‘Mister, I haven’t taken the decision.’ I insisted: ‘But tell me if you’ve signed, it can stay a secret.’ ‘Mister, I haven’t signed anything,’ he replied. ‘Are you going to stay?’ ‘I don’t know.’ ‘Are you going to leave?’ ‘I don’t know.’

“And like that until the end. I don’t know what happened afterwards, I only found out a few hours before the announcement was made at the final match [of the season].”

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