Leonardo backs Messi, Neymar & Pochettino despite a need to improve

Sat 30 October 2021 | 11:45

The Argentina international and the Brazilian have been struggling for the Ligue 1 side this season, but Leonardo believes that the duo will come good.



Lionel Messi




Mauricio Pochettino

as well as some others since he believes slamming

Paris Saint-Germain

is unfair this season, despite their performance.

PSG are sitting top of the Ligue 1 table with 10 points in their advantage after vanquishing Lille on Friday, a fact the sporting director was eager to reiterate, and they are also leading their Champions League group.

However, the PSG manager’s side have not yet reached the expected standard, having three of the best players at their disposal, Messi, Neymar and

Kylian Mbappe


The Ligue 1 giants came from a 2-1 to net the winner through Angel DI Maria against Lille, which is their fifth time this year that they have conceded first before winning in the league.

PSG are having a fine season, but Leonardo thinks the progress would come slowly and steadily following a busy off-season which saw Messi arrive alongside Gianluigi Donnarumma, Achraf Hakimi, Sergio Ramos, Nuno Mendes and Georginio Wijnaldum.


That we have things to improve is obvious,"

Leonardo said.

"But it is normal given the context. There have been players who have reached the end of their preparation, there have been significant changes.

"We are not where we want to be, but the team works a lot. This is very important."

Leonardo thinks PSG have received too much criticism, insisting negative press was "starting to exceed the limits".

He added:

"To say that the coach does not understand anything about football, that he was born yesterday, that the great players we took suck...

"There are people who want to make their names by talking about PSG, it's a personal promotion.

"We don't play the way we want, but we have 10 wins, a draw and a loss. We are 10 points ahead.

"We don't play the way we want, okay, but we are on a path, we never lack effort, we know how to reverse scenarios. It was the fourth win in the 90th minute.

"You can't talk about Messi, Mbappe, Neymar, [Marco] Verratti, the coach, Marquinhos like that. Ramos, too? We knew Ramos had a problem. You are playing the game of the Spanish press. We knew everything. We know what is going on."

Ramos has not yet featured for PSG since making a move from Real Madrid, whereas Messi and Neymar have failed to impress so far.

Messi has yet to find the back of the net in Ligue 1; Neymar, on the other hand, is having a drought this season, failing to find the target after five matches but he contributed three assists.


Messi has spent more time with the national team than here,"

Leonardo said.

"Neymar is the same thing, and he played a great game [against Lille]. They were decisive with Di Maria.

"I am not worried about anything. People think we don't know anything about the players, that the players are all partying. This does not correspond to the truth; if players do things wrong, we talk to them.

"Neymar is unfairly criticised. He played a very big game. If he's a player who parties every day, he doesn't play a game like that, it's impossible."

On Pochettino, Leonardo added:

"Pochettino, before arriving here, was a top-five [coach]; now, supposedly, he doesn't understand anything anymore.

"We have changed things. Opinions will be formed at the end. We are in a hurry at PSG, it's normal. With a team like that, we want to win this year, that's for sure.

"If we're going to succeed, I don't know. That we have all the means, I am convinced. We have a coach, we have a very large squad. Why would I be worried? We can be better. If we look at what we have, why would I be worried?"

source: SportMob

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