Pochettino sack talk shrugged off, but PSG boss admits glaring ‘mistakes’ as Man Utd links grow

PSG boss Mauricio Pochettino faces the media. Pochettino sack talk is growing

Mauricio Pochettino sack talk appears to be growing louder in the wake of PSG’s latest Champions League disaster – and the Argentine admits he now faces a “tough few weeks” as the reality of their situation sets in.

PSG travelled to Real Madrid on Wednesday with a 1-0 lead from the first leg of their last 16 tie. Kylian Mbappe gave the Parisians their advantage and he subsequently starred for 55 minutes of the second leg.

He got the opening goal to make it 2-0 to the visitors on aggregate. He could have increased PSG’s advantage but for some smart saves and the offside flag.

At that stage, and cruising with a 2-0 advantage, all seemed destined for PSG to progress.

Nevertheless, Madrid fought back and Karim Benzema stole the show with a sublime hat-trick. Alongside Luka Modric, the pair turned the tie on its head and dumped PSG out.

While the French giants are on course to reclaim the Ligue 1 title, the Champions League is the ultimate aim. However, another chance for glory has now gone – and in some style.

Pochettino remains the favourite to become the next Manchester United boss as they seek a long-term coach to replace interim Ralf Rangnick.

And PSG’s latest European embarrassment has only enhanced claims that he is now facing the sack.

Pochettino faces the heat

Pochettino now admits he faces some tough questions about PSG’s failure, admitting mistakes have been made.

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“The first goal completely changed the game,” Pochettino said. “For an hour, we were better than Real Madrid. The atmosphere changed in the stadium.

“We made some mistakes after that, we can’t say we didn’t. The worst feeling is that we were the better side, but we lost the tie in 10 minutes.

“Paris St-Germain have been chasing the Champions League for a number of years now. I’m really disappointed, upset – but these things can happen. The next few weeks are not going to be easy.”

Benzema, meanwhile, was understandably delighted after firing Los Blancos into the quarter-finals.

“We knew they’re a team that if you put them under pressure, they don’t panic, but it’s more difficult for them,” Benzema said.

“When you take the ball off them, when you put them under pressure, they can’t connect with the three up front.

“It’s the problem of all the teams that want to play the ball out from the back. When they’re pressed, it causes them problems.”

“In the first leg, we have to say we were lucky to leave there only losing 1-0,” the Frenchman added. “But we knew it would be different in Madrid.

“We pushed, we conceded a goal, but we were confident that we would have chances. It’s a big Champions League evening and we showed we’re a big club.”

Leonardo claims Pochettino sack not on agenda

Despite the setback, PSG’s sporting director Leonardo insists no rash decisions will be made on Pochettino’s future.

“We shouldn’t throw everything in the bin,” Leonardo told RMC Sport. “We shouldn’t start from scratch after every loss. The objective is to win the Champions League, and until half-time we were fine.

“We have to look to improve this team and maintain morale to play in Ligue 1 and to finish the season well. We should stay together.

“Pochettino is still part of the project for this season. It’s not the time to think about that.”

Discussing the manner of their Bernabeu collapse, Leonardo admitted: “It’s a tough one to take. We can’t bury everything that was done. It’s hard to analyse.

“The incident of the foul on Donnarumma was crucial, but we struggled to manage that moment. We lost control. We need to look for solutions. But it’s a shame that a referee’s decision can be so influential in that sort of moment.

“But we should stay calm. We made errors, we should change things but we shouldn’t look back on everything. It’s difficult but, up until half time we were a well-organised team.”

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