Paris Saint-Germain have to build a team – Pochettino

By Sports Desk August 20, 2021

Paris Saint-Germain "must build a team" from their vast array of talent, so says Mauricio Pochettino.

Lionel Messi has headlined five new star recruits at PSG this transfer window, with Gianluigi Donnarumma, Achraf Hakimi, Sergio Ramos and Georginio Wijnaldum also linking up with Neymar, Kylian Mbappe and Co.

Messi has trained this week, but he and Neymar were not involved as PSG beat Brest 4-2 on Friday.

However, it was once more the absence of Marquinhos - who was on the bench after his break following the Copa America - and Ramos, who will not be available until September, which was felt the most as PSG conceded twice for the second match running. In total, they have now let in five goals across their three games.

Though it has not stopped them taking all nine points on offer so far, Pochettino knows he has to strike a balance.

"It was a very close match. We started well, we led 2-0 by dominating the match," he told a news conference.

"We should have scored one more goal, it was an open game that gave the opponents some chances. We suffered in the last 10 minutes. I'm very happy to take three points on difficult ground, against a team that has started the season well. 

"We are at the start of the season, we can see how difficult it is for all the teams to win a game. There are things to improve. In defence, we have to prevent the transition play which can hurt us.

“We have a lot of names of players that shine, but we have to build a team, that's the challenge. It won't be easy, we have to find a balance between the talents that we have. It will take time."

It was a sentiment echoed by Presnel Kimpembe, who put in a disjointed display at the back while wearing the captain's armband.

"We know that we were playing an away game against a team not easy to play," the France international told Amazon Prime Video.

"The team is not yet complete, we still have links to create. There are new players, we have to adapt."

One major bonus from Friday's win was Mbappe getting his first goal of the campaign, nodding in what was just his fourth headed goal in Ligue 1, and his first in the competition since March 2017.

Angel Di Maria also made a goalscoring return, with the Argentina playmaker lobbing in PSG's fourth to settle the contest just nine minutes after his introduction.

Mauro Icardi trudged off injured late on, which may well open the door for the formidable front three of Messi, Neymar and Mbappe to start against Reims next week.

"The week [of training] has been very good for Leo, so we hope that next week he will already be part of the team," said Pochettino, who also confirmed Icardi would undergo scans over the weekend.

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  • 'I hope there will be many more' - Ramos delighted with first PSG goal 'I hope there will be many more' - Ramos delighted with first PSG goal

    Sergio Ramos hopes his maiden Paris Saint-Germain goal will be the first of many after opening his account for the club.

    The defender was on target in the second half at the Parc des Princes as the runaway Ligue 1 leaders enjoyed a commanding 4-0 victory over Reims.

    Ramos was making only his second league start for PSG, with injury problems meaning he has endured a challenging start to life in the French capital since making the switch from Real Madrid.

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    Sergio Ramos scored his first Paris Saint-Germain goal as the Ligue 1 leaders cruised to a 4-0 victory over Reims.

    The defender, who has endured a challenging start to life in the French capital since his switch from Real Madrid, opened his account for Mauricio Pochettino's side with a close-range second-half finish at the Parc des Princes.

    Marco Verratti began the scoring with his first league goal in just under five years, while Wout Faes' own goal and a Danilo Pereira strike sealed the points as the hosts moved 11 points clear at the top of the table.

    PSG, who also welcomed back Lionel Messi following his absence due to COVID-19, have now won the last four Ligue 1 meetings between these sides, keeping a clean sheet on each occasion.

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    The hosts broke through just before half-time; Icardi's blocked effort ricocheting for Verratti, who beat Rajkovic with a sweetly struck shot.

    Seeking only a third win from 15 away matches, Reims almost found a leveller after the break. Nathanael Mbuku drew a smart save out of Keylor Navas, before Hugo Ekitike sent the rebound over.

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    Five minutes later, two became three with Verratti's strike taking two deflections – the latter off Faes – before nestling in the far corner.

    Mauro Icardi was denied shortly afterwards before Pereira got in on the act with a quarter of an hour remaining, latching onto Mbappe's centre before his deflected shot flew past Rajkovic.

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