Ramos' substitution was part of recovery plan, reveals PSG boss Pochettino

By Sports Desk December 19, 2021

Mauricio Pochettino said Sergio Ramos' withdrawal at half-time in the 3-0 Coupe de France win over minnows Feignies-Aulnoye was planned as part of his return from injury. 

Sunday's clash against the fifth-tier side – won thanks to a brace from Kylian Mbappe and a Mauro Icardi penalty – was just the 35-year-old's second appearance for PSG, who he joined on a free transfer ahead of the 2021-22 campaign after leaving Real Madrid.

His substitution at the interval suggested he had suffered a further setback in his bid to return to full fitness, but Pochettino insisted there is nothing to be concerned about.

"He's been with us for six months and he had a very difficult start to his adventure," the PSG boss told Eurosport.

"He wants to play. Today was very good. We resume little by little with these 45 minutes. 

"It was important for him and he needs to be in good shape to be able to help us. He still has to work a lot."

The involvement of the likes of Mbappe, Icardi and Marco Verratti was proof that Pochettino did not take PSG's opposition lightly, and the former Tottenham boss said he was pleased with his side's "professional" approach.

"I think they were very professional," he added. "It's never easy in these kinds of matches because these kinds of teams are completely different. You have to be serious and approach the match in the best possible conditions. 

"But I think our game was very professional. It was what we wanted. We have qualified for the next round."

 

Highly-rated teenager Xavi Simons made his first start for the club, impressing on the right-hand side of a front three.

He had five shots and made five key passes – a total bettered only by Verratti on the pitch.

Pochettino was pleased with his display and is confident the club's youngsters will continue to benefit from playing alongside such established stars.

"We have incredible players at PSG, and in particular talented young people who have the opportunity to train with the first team and to play sometimes," he said. 

"We can give them that opportunity. PSG are a special, different club, and they need to play, to learn, but I am very satisfied with what I saw tonight, especially from the young people."

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