Is Pochettino under huge pressure at PSG after Messi arrival?
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Lionel Messi’s tough start to life at Paris Saint-Germain continued on Friday as he was substituted at half-time of the Ligue 1 clash at home to Lille. Messi is still yet to score a league goal for PSG since his free transfer in the summer. The Argentina superstar has faced strong criticism from the French media for his slow start in the capital.
Lille were leading the match 1-0 at half-time when Messi was taken off.
But PSG turned the game on its head without Messi in the second half, with goals from Marquinhos and Angel Di Maria giving them a 2-1 win.
There were no indications that Messi was struggling with an injury in the first half.
However, Ovacion24 claimed the 34-year-old had a muscular issue which meant he could not continue.
WhoScored claims he has now had the most shots in Ligue 1 this season without scoring a goal (15).
Ahead of the match, French newspaper L’Equipe made their feelings clear on Messi’s time at PSG so far.
Their front page had a picture of Messi looking disappointed and the headline: “Finally a good start?”
The publication added in the copy: “Since his arrival at PSG, Messi has not yet reached the performances he showed at Barca. There is still no concern, but impatience is beginning to spread.”
The criticism came after former France star Nicolas Anelka gave a savage verdict on Messi’s start at PSG.
Speaking to French outlet RMC, Anelka said: “Today we demand from Neymar, but we can do the same with Messi.
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“Since the beginning of the season he has not been extraordinary either.
“There is a player who has six Ballon d’Ors and in the end he is not so extraordinary.”
Messi’s three goals for PSG so far have all come in the Champions League.
It was the second time he has been substituted in a PSG shirt after being dragged off with 15 minutes to go in the clash with Lyon last month.
PSG went on to win the game thanks to a stoppage-time winner from Mauro Icardi, who also replaced Messi against Lille.
PSG boss Mauricio Pochettino admitted this week he caused a stir in the dressing room when he said Messi should win the Ballon d’Or.
In an interview, the former Tottenham manager said: “The Ballon d’Or should go to Messi without any doubt.
“And if I didn’t coach Messi, I would still say Messi. I answer with my heart. I always say what I feel. On the podium with him would have to be Lewandowski and Cristiano.”
But Pochettino has since said Neymar and Kylian Mbappe were not happy with his comments.
“I had a problem saying that Messi should win the Ballon d’Or,” Pochettino said.
“Neymar and Mbappe told me why not them.
“In any case, it would be great for any player from Paris to win it, but Leo deserves it.”
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