Pochettino’s departure from PSG makes sense: Messi, Neymar and Mbappe undermine coach every round – Goal India

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Mauricio Pochettino looked tired with his hands in his pockets and his brow furrowed for much of Paris Saint-Germain’s 2-1 loss to Manchester City on Wednesday night.

This is not the Pochettino team. They have none of the characteristics of his tactical philosophy, none of the characteristics – neither technical nor psychological – to suggest that players listen to his instructions.

The Argentine demands collectivism and hard work to embrace his Bielsa-inspired football with vertical, pressing lines.

PSG are the exact opposite: three forwards wandering carefree on the pitch, seemingly indifferent to helping their team-mates and, as a result, undermining Pochettino at every turn.

We all know these superstars hold all the power; that Kylian Mbappe, Lionel Messi and Neymar have a free license.

But being inside the stadium on Wednesday, keeping an eye on the top three at all times and not just when the camera is pointing their way, gave a whole new perspective on the extraordinary situation at PSG.

Pochettino has given up on trying to convey his usual tactics, instead embracing the kind of conservative counterattack football that he would never have accepted at Tottenham Hotspur or Espanyol.

It is a pragmatic and rational way of dealing with the unprecedented situation of being a manager with the full support of the board of directors but holding less authority than the players.

Where Pochettino wants a high collective press, PSG must fall back into a low bloc and only defend its own third party.

Where he wants precise trades in midfield, he has to accept longer passes to walking forwards – which then slow down the game.