Pochettino calls for patience with Messi link-up as PSG wait on Mbappe injury

By Sports Desk September 15, 2021

Mauricio Pochettino insisted Lionel Messi will take time to settle as Paris Saint-Germain await more information on Kylian Mbappe's ankle injury following their 1-1 draw with Club Brugge in the Champions League.

Pochettino unleashed Messi, Neymar and Mbappe together for the first time, with the latter teeing up Ander Herrera's fourth goal in four games in all competitions – as many as he had scored in his previous 70 PSG matches.

However, Hans Vanaken's seventh Champions League goal for Brugge stunned the star-studded Ligue 1 outfit, who failed to recover, now having won their European opener in just one of their past four campaigns.

To make matters worse, Mbappe was forced off in the second half after a challenge by former team-mate Stanley N'Soki, and Pochettino could not reveal the extent of his injury post-match.

"Mbappe twisted his ankle, he already had problems with both ankles," Pochettino told RMC Sport. "We will see tomorrow [Thursday] if we can have a more precise update."

Even with Mbappe stricken, PSG should have had enough to defeat Brugge, instead turning in an underwhelming attacking performance – although Messi hit the crossbar with one of three shots and also created a trio of opportunities.

"We need time to work for them [Messi, Neymar and Mbappe] to build an understanding," Pochettino told reporters.

"That's been clear and we've said that in recent days. We still have to create a team.

"We didn't have a good evening. We have to stay calm, keep working and take the time we need. Things will get better."

He added: "Nobody in the team can be happy with their performance and nobody can be happy with this result."

Related items

  • Durant: Nobody hoping Irving will come to save us after Nets lose amid pro-Kyrie protests Durant: Nobody hoping Irving will come to save us after Nets lose amid pro-Kyrie protests

    Kevin Durant said nobody is hoping Kyrie Irving will return to "save us" after the Brooklyn Nets were beaten by the Charlotte Hornets amid protests in support of the absent NBA All-Star.

    Irving is yet to play this season due to his refusal to be vaccinated against coronavirus, which is preventing him from practicing or playing with the Nets – New York has a mandate in place that states players must have had a COVID-19 jab.

    Demonstrators gathered outside Barclays Center prior to Sunday's 111-95 defeat at home to the Hornets, showing their support of Irving.

    After the Nets dropped to 1-2 for the season, Durant was asked about team-mate Irving and him being away from the championship-chasing franchise.

    "It's three games in. Of course, we've got enough," Durant told reporters post-game after posting 38 points.

    "We definitely want Kyrie Irving out here on the floor and he's a huge part of what we do, but it's not happening right now. So we've got to figure it out.

    "But nobody's going to lose confidence while we're playing and hope Kyrie comes and saves us during the game. No, you've got to play."

    James Harden was far from his best against the Hornets, going just six-of-16 shooting from the field for 15 points in 33 minutes, while he also tallied eight turnovers.

    The former MVP endured an injury-hit first season with the Nets following his blockbuster trade from the Houston Rockets.

    "I'm just getting my confidence back," Harden said. "I'm a little hesitant. You guys can see it. Just making sure my confidence continues to build, and that's all that matters.

    "We're at game three and hopefully my confidence -- not hopefully -- but my confidence will rise and will continue to get better as games go on, and I feel more confident and get that burst of speed like I'm normally used to. No worries at all."

    Harden has also found himself drawing fewer fouls this season after the NBA introduced a rule change, aimed specifically at players who make "abnormal movements" to get to the free-throw line.

    He only went to the line once against the Hornets, having averaged 4.0 attempts heading into the contest – his lowest average since the 2010-11 season (4.2).

    "I feel like he's unfairly become the poster boy of not calling these fouls," Nets head coach Steve Nash said. "Some of them are definitely fouls still."

    Nash added: "I think he’s got to stick with it. But they're just so alert and aware, and he's the poster child of these new decisions.  I get it, there's a line, but some of them are still fouls.

    "So, he's just got to stick with it, he’s got to keep going to the basket, and he's got to do what he does because a large portion of them are still fouls, and if he doesn't get fouls, he can still make plays.

    "He can still finish them, and pass and do all the things that he does. So he's just got to continue as he finds his rhythm again after very little basketball for half a year. Keep attacking, keep attacking, and they're gonna respect his skill level and his ability to get guys on his shoulder and get to the basket."

  • Inter CEO Marotta: No PIF talks for Nerazzurri takeover Inter CEO Marotta: No PIF talks for Nerazzurri takeover

    Inter CEO Giuseppe Marotta said there is "absolutely nothing" in reports claiming talks between the Serie A champions and Saudi Arabia's Public Investment Fund (PIF) regarding a potential takeover.

    Suning's ownership of Inter remains in doubt, despite the sales of star pair Romelu Lukaku and Achraf Hakimi, as the economic fallout caused by the coronavirus pandemic continues.

    PIF completed a takeover of Premier League side Newcastle United, though they were linked with Inter prior and they reportedly remain interested in the Nerazzurri.

    Marotta, however, dismissed the possibility of Suning seeking a sale in the immediate future.

    "I am not a shareholder, but in the past few days I have spoken with the president and he has given reassurances on his continuing on," Marotta told DAZN prior to Sunday's 1-1 draw with Juventus.

    "There are absolutely nothing concrete to do with that fund, as far as the question of ownership.

    "I limit myself to managing the club with my colleagues, we try to do it in the best way."

  • Brady hits milestone in Bucs rout as Stafford's Rams survive Lions scare Brady hits milestone in Bucs rout as Stafford's Rams survive Lions scare

    Tom Brady made history once again as Super Bowl champions the Tampa Bay Buccaneers rolled past the Chicago Bears 38-3 in NFL action Sunday. 

    With a nine-yard strike to Mike Evans in the closing seconds of the first quarter, Brady became the first NFL quarterback to throw 600 touchdown passes.

    The 44-year-old – 20-of-36 passing for 211 yards – would finish the game with 602 for his career, all four of his TD tosses going for fewer than 10 yards and three of them landing in Evans' hands. 

    Blaine Gabbert took over at quarterback for Brady midway through the fourth quarter with the game well in hand as the Buccaneers improved to 6-1. 

    Brady's opposite number, Bears rookie QB Justin Fields, had a brutal day as he was sacked four times and threw three interceptions as Chicago failed to find the end zone. 

    Stafford, Rams survive Lions scare

    The matchup between Super Bowl contenders the Los Angeles Rams and the winless Detroit Lions finished with the expected result, but the Rams' 28-19 win was much closer than anticipated. 

    The Rams (6-1) trailed 19-17 entering the fourth quarter and needed a five-yard touchdown pass from Matthew Stafford to Cooper Kupp early in the period to take the lead and a 47-yard Matt Gay field goal with just over a minute to play to seal the win. 

    Stafford completed 28 of 41 passes for 334 yards and three TDs against the team he played for in the first 12 years of his career, while former Rams QB Jared Goff threw a pair of costly interceptions for the Lions (0-7).

    Kupp became the first player in the Super Bowl era to have 800-plus receiving yards and nine-plus receiving touchdowns in his team's first seven games of a season.

    While the Lions remained the only winless team in the league after Week 7, the Arizona Cardinals (7-0) maintained their status as the lone team with a perfect record, routing the Houston Texans 31-5 behind three TD passes by Kyler Murray. 

© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.