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Football Reporting

Champions League

Lionel Messi, Neymar, Kylian Mbappe will take time to gel


Paris Saint-Germain coach Mauricio Pochettino warned it would take some time for his formidable attacking trio to shine after they disappointed in a 1-1 draw at Club Brugge in their Champions League opener on Wednesday.

Lionel Messi hit the woodwork on his first start with PSG but he failed to add to his 120 goals in the competition, while Neymar was hugely disappointing and Kylian Mbappe limped off the pitch injured after setting up Ander Herrera for the opening goal.

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It was the first time the three attacking players were together on the field and they struggled to find each other and create space against a compact Belgian side.

“It requires time for them to shine together,” Pochettino said. “It requires work. I had made it clear that we’re not a team yet, we have to work for this.”

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Messi and Neymar, starting on the flanks, left the full-backs exposed and Brugge exploited the space with a strong collective performance as PSG’s midfield was almost non-existent in the absence of the injured Marco Verratti.

That prompted Pochettino to replace Leandro Paredes with Danilo and Georginio Wijnaldum with Julian Draxler but to no effect.

“We needed more consistency and more fluidity. We made too many mistakes,” Pochettino added. “But despite all this I’m satisfied with the players. We have to keep calm and keep working.”

PSG are two points behind Manchester City who demolished RB Leipzig 6-3, two weeks before the Ligue 1 side take on the Premier League champions at the Parc des Princes.



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