‘Man City everything Pochettino’s individuals are not’

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November 25, 2021
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    Manchester City players celebrate goalManchester City also beat PSG in the semi-final of last season's Champions League

    Mauricio Pochettino's mission at Paris St-Germain is to win the Champions League amid the talk he will be the next manager of Manchester United.

    If the Argentine fails, that may be the end of him at PSG anyway, even if he wins the French title. If he succeeds, he might feel his work in Paris is done and that he can move on with grateful thanks.

    This may just be a "win-win" for Manchester United as they move from caretaker to interim manager and on to a summer permanent appointment following the sacking of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.

    The Champions League is the one trophy to elude Pep Guardiola at Manchester City amid a blizzard of domestic domination. That absence was felt most painfully when they lost last season's final to Chelsea in Porto.

    But barring something unforeseen, Guardiola's future at City is as rock solid as he wishes, which cannot be said of Pochettino in Paris.

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    There was certainly temptation to highlight a contrast between Guardiola's bastion of stability and Pochettino's relative uncertainty as City secured top spot in their Champions League group with a fully deserved 2-1 win over PSG at Etihad Stadium.

    City's manager spoke glowingly on the eve of this game about his personal and professional relationship with director of football Txiki Begiristain, one that goes back to their playing days together at Barcelona. Meanwhile, the speculation in Paris is about the perceived unease between Pochettino and sporting director Leonardo.

    Guardiola's Manchester City were everything Pochettino likes his teams to be and more besides. for a start, they were actually a team.

    City were a coherent, fiercely committed unit playing in the very specific style their manager demands. PSG were a collection of talented individuals with many marching to their own beat.

    Guardiola's team has world-class players but they all work within that familiar high-intensity framework, allied to the sort of character that allowed them to shrug off the blow of going behind against the run of play to turn the game around.

    Kylian Mbappe, Lionel Messi and NeymarKylian Mbappe, Lionel Messi and Neymar had the fewest touches of the PSG players to play the full 90 minutes

    PSG almost operate like two teams locked within one. There are Lionel Messi, Kylian Mbappe and Neymar – and then there's everybody else.

    Pochettino's teams usually have his philosophy stamped right through them. Positive, athletic, pressing, intense. Every player imbued with a relentless work ethic.

    Not this one.

    The growing feeling, as the PSG fans made their discontent known at the final whistle, is that Pochettino's long-term hopes rest on somehow imposing his style on individuals who like to do their own thing. On this evidence, he has a job on his hands.

    On several occasions, PSG's men at the back were seen gesturing to those at the front to get their hands dirty as City turned up the pressure. Those pleas that often fell on deaf ears. Too often, the big three were just strolling around and the rest were not good enough to carry them.

    Messi, Mbappe and Neymar have all those glorious gifts but work-rate was not one of their qualities here. And, deep down, you can imagine that Pochettino's natural instinct is to want so much more.

    Mauricio Pochettino and Pep GuardiolaMauricio Pochettino was appointed PSG manager in January

    In these circumstances, with these players, Pochettino could struggle to impose his style. PSG do not look or play like a Pochettino team.

    If he does not, or cannot, do that, then talk of his arrival at Manchester United will only grow louder.

    City were everything PSG were not. Pochettino must have looked on in envy as City's players showed sweat-stained character and resilience as well as class. And it was all done without Kevin De Bruyne, Phil Foden and £100m summer signing Jack Grealish. If calling this a statement win should be avoided, it was certainly a statement of strength in depth.

    It is a mystery how the Champions League title has escaped a side as good as City but the talk of "statement" wins that usually follows these results is wasted now because too often it has been followed by disappointment. Their quest is quite simple. Win it.

    When they play like this, they take some stopping. But we have said this before.

    Taken on this game, however, City were the complete package. They imposed their will on PSG from the first whistle, pushing the French league leaders back, but they were hit with a sucker punch when Mbappe pounced on Messi's deflected cross.

    PSG had asked the question of City and received an emphatic answer. Raheem Sterling capped a period of pressure with the equaliser and Gabriel Jesus scored the winner after Neymar missed a perfect opportunity to restore PSG's lead.

    Once again, City showed they are perfectly at home among Europe's best. They must be placed with Chelsea, Liverpool and Bayern Munich in an elite group who can believe that Europe's most prestigious trophy can be theirs.

    Pochettino cut a frustrated figure at the final whistle, disappointment written over his face at PSG's performance and the result.

    Guardiola, in contrast, was a picture of delight at the end of a contest between Manchester City's team and PSG's individuals. The team won convincingly.

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    • D

      Comment posted by Dave Angels Moonlight Shadow, today at 00:37

      I’m not convinced it’s possible to win with a team of ‘superstars’. I think there’s a lot to be said for the fact that Klopp Guardiola and Tuchel steer away from Hollywood signings, preferring more ‘ordinary’ players who are team oriented. Same could be said of Bayern.. no apparent egos there. Man Utd are in classic PSG style.. full of guys who think they’re the dogs doodahs but ultimately losers75133

      • J

        Reply posted by jomoriarty, today at 01:12

        "I’m not convinced it’s possible to win with a team of ‘superstars’. I think there’s a lot to be said for the fact that Klopp Guardiola and Tuchel steer away from Hollywood signings, preferring more ‘ordinary’ players who are team oriented. Same could be said of Bayern.. no apparent egos there. Man Utd are in classic PSG style.. full of guys who think they’re the dogs doodahs but ultimately losers"jomoriarty replied: I think that’s exactly right. Thomas Tuchel said much the same himself when he commented that he found it easier to manage Romelu Lukaku than Neymar or Kylian Mbappé. “At PSG, I felt I was the Minister for Sport. I had to also manage family members and friends of the stars. At Chelsea, I work much more calmly.”3873

      More replies (67)

    • T

      Comment posted by The Crackster, today at 00:22

      “PSG were a collection of talented individuals with many marching to their own beat,” reports McNulty.

      Isn’t that exactly what Pochettino will inherit if he does take over at Manchester United?45923

      • K

        Reply posted by KeithThe MKDon, today at 00:28

        "“PSG were a collection of talented individuals with many marching to their own beat,” reports McNulty.Isn’t that exactly what Pochettino will inherit if he does take over at Manchester United?"KeithThe MKDon replied: If he takes the United job, he will have to give a few players their marching orders away from Old Trafford.1957

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    • J

      Comment posted by JackMcMac, today at 00:26

      Mbappe wants to leave, Messi is there because he had no choice, Neymar is the definition of a luxury player. All are undroppable in the eyes of the owner. Overrated team.3696

      • R

        Reply posted by rob, today at 05:43

        "Mbappe wants to leave, Messi is there because he had no choice, Neymar is the definition of a luxury player. All are undroppable in the eyes of the owner. Overrated team."rob replied: Messi had a choice he cud have stayed at Barca but he’s a greedy player like most of them162188

      More replies (50)

    • T

      Comment posted by Tonic, today at 00:14

      I see Poch passed his first interview at UTD… losing to Pep….. nearly there son!34939

      • M

        Reply posted by Muddyron, today at 00:19

        "I see Poch passed his first interview at UTD… losing to Pep….. nearly there son!"Muddyron replied: Yawn78155

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    • N

      Comment posted by nontribal, today at 00:50

      PSG just don’t play as a team. They have great players but their work rate is poor. They also play act too much – it becomes predictable and tiresome to see them go down feigning injury when they get tackled. Man City were the superior team tonight and deserved their win. They work as a team and for each other. Great atmosphere tonight. Good to see all the English PL teams go through to next round2256

      • C

        Reply posted by Celts, today at 01:38

        "PSG just don’t play as a team. They have great players but their work rate is poor. They also play act too much – it becomes predictable and tiresome to see them go down feigning injury when they get tackled. Man City were the superior team tonight and deserved their win. They work as a team and for each other. Great atmosphere tonight. Good to see all the English PL teams go through to next round"Celts replied: If this was the knockout stages and not the group stages. Then PSG would have just ground out a 3-2 aggregate win and everyone would be singing their praises!

        Football is fickle. You narrowly lose 1 match away from home to one of the best sides in the world, and all of a sudden you’re rubbish!

        Bored of the constant overreactions….13772

      More replies (25)

    • T

      Comment posted by The Spin Doctor, today at 00:14

      What Poch needs to understand is despite being second best to City in all departments, he is currently still in a far, far better position than he would be if he joins Man Utd.21741

      • Removed comment

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    • R

      Comment posted by random_banter, today at 00:21

      Football 1 – Diving and rolling around 016913

      • T

        Reply posted by Tiddlywinks, today at 01:30

        "Football 1 – Diving and rolling around 0"Tiddlywinks replied: City didn’t lose…55145

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    • P

      Comment posted by poiuyt, today at 00:25

      If Pochettino fails at PSG despite the wealth of world-class talent, are United really going to think he’s the man for their job? There are parallels between the highly paid individual stars of PSG who struggle to work as a cohesive unit, and the highly paid stars of United.12912

      • C

        Reply posted by CheGuevara, today at 00:34

        "If Pochettino fails at PSG despite the wealth of world-class talent, are United really going to think he’s the man for their job? There are parallels between the highly paid individual stars of PSG who struggle to work as a cohesive unit, and the highly paid stars of United."CheGuevara replied: Like Thomas Tuchel you mean 🙄7718

      More replies (29)

    • G

      Comment posted by geoffinho, today at 00:16

      Was at the game to watch Messi. Looked disinterested as if he’s wanting to go home. Mbappe and Neymar are massively overrated in my opinion. City outclassed them.1125

      • M

        Reply posted by Mistraknowitall, today at 00:18

        "Was at the game to watch Messi. Looked disinterested as if he’s wanting to go home. Mbappe and Neymar are massively overrated in my opinion. City outclassed them."Mistraknowitall replied: Disinterested.Exactly.346

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    • D

      Comment posted by dangerous dave, today at 00:43

      A distinct lack of acknowledging city won without De Bruyne, Foden, Grealish or Torres available to them in attack. Show me any side in the world that wouldn’t struggle with that kind of talent unavailable.11913

      • D

        Reply posted by drew, today at 01:05

        "A distinct lack of acknowledging city won without De Bruyne, Foden, Grealish or Torres available to them in attack. Show me any side in the world that wouldn’t struggle with that kind of talent unavailable."drew replied: Wise up city have 2 teams that could get in the top 4 even without a proper striker10112

      More replies (23)

    • M

      Comment posted by Michael from Canada, today at 00:51

      So he cant manage the egos at PSG? No egos at United then?845

      • A

        Reply posted by AB Iron, today at 00:55

        "So he cant manage the egos at PSG? No egos at United then?"AB Iron replied: Hey Michael. I am in AB and a Hammer. I too hate Man U2550

      More replies (12)

    • M

      Comment posted by manchesterfor arsenal, today at 00:43

      I wonder which match PM watched? And why BBC is committing so much column pages to Man United, even using a Man City match as an excuse to write about United.
      BBC FYI there are 20 teams in the premiership to write about. The sacking of OGS should not make headlines in general news, nor generate 3-4 news articles each day especially when these are comments based on conjecture and rumours.9925

      • A

        Reply posted by Account1, today at 00:50

        "I wonder which match PM watched? And why BBC is committing so much column pages to Man United, even using a Man City match as an excuse to write about United. BBC FYI there are 20 teams in the premiership to write about. The sacking of OGS should not make headlines in general news, nor generate 3-4 news articles each day especially when these are comments based on conjecture and rumours."Account1 replied: Why are you using a Man City and PSG HYS to write about Man Utd?899

      More replies (15)

    • S

      Comment posted by Silian East, today at 01:02

      Fantastic by City. And what a pity that for all his skill and wealth, Neymar would still rather cheat than play the game684

      • S

        Reply posted by stevef, today at 11:46

        "Fantastic by City. And what a pity that for all his skill and wealth, Neymar would still rather cheat than play the game"stevef replied: Bit like Sterling then ?525

      More replies (3)

    • 9

      Comment posted by 971, today at 00:29

      HYS on french sites its the players that get the stick. Paris supporters are fed up with PSG always buying the big players who don’t perform. Their attitude is bigs players don’t warrant their salaries. Amonst other complaints.653

      • Y

        Reply posted by You, today at 00:38

        "HYS on french sites its the players that get the stick. Paris supporters are fed up with PSG always buying the big players who don’t perform. Their attitude is bigs players don’t warrant their salaries. Amonst other complaints."You replied: Man City have never won the CL so how do they justify their salary?1886

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    • T

      Comment posted by tikkamosalah, today at 06:48

      Not a Man City fan but watched the game and you can only admire the way Man City played and controlled the game. Some of the best high intensity passing I’ve seen for a long time. Hope Pep wins it. He deserves it.602

      • J

        Reply posted by junior, today at 11:19

        "Not a Man City fan but watched the game and you can only admire the way Man City played and controlled the game. Some of the best high intensity passing I’ve seen for a long time. Hope Pep wins it. He deserves it."junior replied: well said101

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    • P

      Comment posted by Pandemania, today at 00:25

      City played well. They would’ve beaten most teams with this performance. Nothing to see here546

    • C

      Comment posted by chanasnakepit, today at 00:25

      PSG not as good as everyone makes out to be. Mbappe and Messi are quality. Though Messi not really turned up for the French league atm. Neymar is overrated. Not even good enough to lace Brazilian ronaldo’s laces!!487

      • C

        Reply posted by Celts, today at 01:36

        "PSG not as good as everyone makes out to be. Mbappe and Messi are quality. Though Messi not really turned up for the French league atm. Neymar is overrated. Not even good enough to lace Brazilian ronaldo’s laces!!"Celts replied: They just beat Man City 3-2 on aggregate……1566

      More replies (14)

    • S

      Comment posted by Stupid Like A Fox, today at 06:47

      Neymar is the most overrated footballer ever! He’s a circus show pony402

      • M

        Reply posted by Massey, today at 07:02

        "Neymar is the most overrated footballer ever! He’s a circus show pony"Massey replied: I reckon its Perry Groves.31

      More replies (5)

    • C

      Comment posted by Corks, today at 00:38

      If Pochettino is not happy with being ‘First Team Coach’ at PSG then no way he will join UTD. United will not give any ‘Manager’ the power Ferguson had ever again.427

      • R

        Reply posted by Roger68, today at 01:02

        "If Pochettino is not happy with being ‘First Team Coach’ at PSG then no way he will join UTD. United will not give any ‘Manager’ the power Ferguson had ever again."Roger68 replied: if he wasnt happy, why take the job to begin with? as that structure was in place long before he joined… and if he doesnt like managing players with big egos etc, then Utd isnt for him, what with Ronaldo and Pogba to contend with234

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    • Y

      Comment posted by youcantbeserious, today at 00:26

      When you’ve got three passengers in your side that wont defend then good luck. I understand Messi not running back to defend, but Neymar and the 22 year old. It’s a joke and Pochettino has to play them. he couldn’t even take one of them off in the second half. He’s better off leaving this club with all the superstars that can’t play as a team.395

      • I

        Reply posted by I like muppets, today at 05:00

        "When you’ve got three passengers in your side that wont defend then good luck. I understand Messi not running back to defend, but Neymar and the 22 year old. It’s a joke and Pochettino has to play them. he couldn’t even take one of them off in the second half. He’s better off leaving this club with all the superstars that can’t play as a team."I like muppets replied: Messi is in the team: he should run back.292

      More replies (7)

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