Pochettino awaits verdict as PSG chiefs plot path forward after Champions League agony

By Sports Desk March 19, 2022

Mauricio Pochettino is refusing to look beyond the end of Paris Saint-Germain's season as his future at the club hangs in the balance.

The PSG head coach saw his team throw away a 2-0 aggregate lead in the final half-hour of their Champions League last-16 clash with Real Madrid.

That shock slump from a dominant position has cast doubt on whether Pochettino should be the man to lead another bid for the trophy the club's Qatari owners crave above all others.

Pochettino remains haunted by the 3-2 aggregate defeat, saying on Saturday it would be "difficult to get that calmness to sleep again and get it out of our heads".

The former Tottenham boss is reportedly being considered as a candidate for the Manchester United job, which is due to become vacant when interim boss Ralf Rangnick makes way at the end of the season.

But for now, Pochettino says he is focused on delivering a 10th Ligue 1 title for the Parisians. That is practically a fait accompli, given they headed into this weekend with a 15-point lead over nearest rivals Marseille and Nice.

Pochettino told a news conference, ahead of Sunday's game at Monaco: "It's not easy to forget what happened in the Champions League, but I think we need to move on and need to win every single game.

"Of course, there's a feeling of sadness about the situation, based on what we experienced. The first disappointment is for the players and for all of us, fans included.

"There are many things that come into play, but we can use it as a source of motivation going forward. You cannot stop in football.

"You have to keep competing, you have to achieve the targets that are still available and treat them as a priority. We have to clinch the club's 10th Ligue 1 title, that is our main target."

Pochettino, whose contract runs to the end of next season, added: "As for the future, I am just thinking about today and tomorrow, I am not thinking about the long term.

"We have a responsibility to finish this season as well as we can. We will see what decisions the club takes at the end of the season, and what way the club wants to project into the future."

Pochettino knows the Champions League is PSG's ultimate target. PSG's owners, Qatar Sports Investments, have hired a string of top coaches in their bid to realise that ambition, with Pochettino following Thomas Tuchel, Unai Emery, Laurent Blanc and Carlo Ancelotti into the role of head coach.

It would come as little surprise if they move for another leading boss at the end of the current campaign.

"Our intention is to create competitive teams to be able to win. We analyse things at the end of the season," Pochettino said.

"We will see which decisions are made to try to recreate that excitement and motivation to have the competitive team that we need to compete for the biggest honours in the world. Which in this case is the Champions League, which is what everyone at Paris Saint-Germain wants."

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