Mauricio Pochettino has not asked to leave Paris Saint-Germain and no talks have been held with Zinedine Zidane, the club's sporting director, Leonardo, has said.

Speculation has persisted that Pochettino is one of Manchester United's top targets to succeed Ole Gunnar Solskjaer as manager.

The Red Devils have reportedly identified the Argentine as a leading candidate, most likely for the end of the season, with Ralf Rangnick poised to take over on an interim basis for the rest of 2021-22.

The former Spurs boss, who is keen to return to the Premier League according to some reports, refused to quash the rumours following his side's 2-1 Champions League defeat to Manchester City on Wednesday.

It has also been claimed that PSG have spoken several times with former Real Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane over the prospect of taking charge should Pochettino ask to leave.

However, Leonardo insists there has been no contact from any club about Pochettino, who is under contract until the end of next season.

"I think it's important to clarify the situation given the amount of false information circulating. Mauricio Pochettino is under contract with the club until 2023," he told AFP.

"We do not want Pochettino to leave. He never asked to leave and no club contacted us in relation to him."

Leonardo also denied claims that PSG officials met with Zidane at Paris' prestigious Royal Monceau hotel to discuss the prospect of taking charge.

"We have a lot of respect for Zinedine Zidane, for what he did as a player and coach, but I can tell you very clearly that there is no contact and that no meeting with him has taken place," he said.

"It's ridiculous to imagine that a meeting with Zinedine Zidane could have taken place in a big hotel in Paris in front of the eyes of everyone."

PSG, who lead Ligue 1 by 11 points after 14 rounds, are next in action at Saint-Etienne on Sunday.

Lionel Messi linking up with the Argentina squad while not fully fit "does not make sense", according to Paris Saint-Germain sporting director Leonardo.

The 34-year-old has endured an injury-plagued start to his PSG career since arriving on a shock free transfer three months ago after leaving Barcelona.

After sitting out last week's draw with RB Leipzig and win over Bordeaux with knee and hamstring injuries, Messi has now featured in just eight of PSG's 18 matches this season.

Despite his niggling injury issues in recent months, Messi has been included in Argentina's squad for their World Cup qualifiers against Uruguay and Brazil over the next eight days.

PSG boss Mauricio Pochettino said on Friday he is happy for his compatriot to play for La Albiceleste as it will give him an opportunity to build up his fitness.

However, Leonardo is not pleased with Argentina's decision to call up the forward and has urged world football governing body FIFA to get involved. 

"We do not agree to release a player for national team selection who, for us, is not in physical condition or who is in the rehabilitation phase," he is quoted as saying by Le Parisien. 

"It does not make sense, and this type of situation is worthy of a ruling from FIFA."

 

Messi has played just 325 minutes of Ligue 1 action for PSG, compared to 450 minutes for Argentina across their qualifying fixtures in September and October, not including the suspended match with Brazil.

The six-time Ballon d'Or winner has registered three goals in his first eight appearances for the French giants but has yet to score or assist in the league.

He has had 15 shots without finding the net in Ligue 1, failing to score from an expected goals value of 1.9.

Only Clermont midfielder Jim Allevinah (16) and Troyes forward Renaud Ripart (19) have had more shots without scoring in the French top flight this term.

Indeed, Messi has netted more times for Argentina in 2021-22 than he has for PSG, with four goals in five appearances.

Leonardo has dismissed talk Paris Saint-Germain are lining up moves for Milan duo Franck Kessie and Theo Hernandez.

Kessie's contract expires at the end of this season, so the Ivory Coast midfielder will be free to talk to other clubs in January.

Milan are eager to keep the 24-year-old, who has been linked with the likes of Liverpool, Chelsea and Tottenham, but have been unable to agree terms on a new deal.

Big-spending PSG are also reported to be eyeing up Kessie along with his team-mate Hernandez.

Yet the Ligue 1 giants' sporting director Leonardo has rubbished claims that approaches have been made for the two key Milan players.

Leonardo was previously a player, coach and director for the Rossoneri.

"We haven't contacted any player, there's nothing with Franck Kessie or Theo Hernandez," he said.

Milan head coach Stefano Pioli on Saturday responded to Leonardo's comments by saying: "I'm not going to comment on Leonardo's words. I'm interested in seeing the players available and that's it."

France left-back Hernandez is under contract with Milan until June 2024.

Leonardo defended Lionel Messi, Neymar and Mauricio Pochettino, among others, as he said criticism of Paris Saint-Germain has been unfair this season, even if their performances have been below par.

PSG are 10 points clear at the top of Ligue 1 after beating defending champions Lille on Friday – a fact sporting director Leonardo was keen to reiterate – and also lead their Champions League group.

But Pochettino's side have not quite reached the standard expected of an outfit boasting three of the best players in the world in Messi, Neymar and Kylian Mbappe.

PSG had to come from behind to defeat Lille 2-1, scoring an 88th-minute winner through Angel Di Maria.

It was the fifth time in this calendar year PSG have conceded first but won in Ligue 1, tying a club record, while they have now earned eight points in the final five minutes of matches this season. No other team have collected more than three.

 

Those statistics speak to the fine margins PSG are dealing with, but Leonardo expected progress would be slow and steady after a busy off-season in which Messi arrived alongside Gianluigi Donnarumma, Achraf Hakimi, Sergio Ramos, Nuno Mendes and Georginio Wijnaldum.

"That we have things to improve is obvious," Leonardo said. "But it is normal given the context. There have been players who have reached the end of their preparation, there have been significant changes.

"We are not where we want to be, but the team works a lot. This is very important."

Leonardo feels there has been too much criticism of PSG, suggesting negative press was "starting to exceed the limits".

He added: "To say that the coach does not understand anything about football, that he was born yesterday, that the great players we took suck...

"There are people who want to make their names by talking about PSG, it's a personal promotion.

"We don't play the way we want, but we have 10 wins, a draw and a loss. We are 10 points ahead.

"We don't play the way we want, okay, but we are on a path, we never lack effort, we know how to reverse scenarios. It was the fourth win in the 90th minute.

"You can't talk about Messi, Mbappe, Neymar, [Marco] Verratti, the coach, Marquinhos like that. Ramos, too? We knew Ramos had a problem. You are playing the game of the Spanish press. We knew everything. We know what is going on."

Ramos is yet to play for PSG since joining from Real Madrid in July, while Messi and Neymar have underwhelmed this term.

Messi still waits on his first Ligue 1 goal, making him the player to have had the most shots in the competition without scoring this season (15, including four on target).

 

Meanwhile, Neymar is enduring his longest Ligue 1 drought, going five games without a goal. However, his brilliant assist for Di Maria on Friday was his third in that time.

"Messi has spent more time with the national team than here," Leonardo said. "Neymar is the same thing, and he played a great game [against Lille]. They were decisive with Di Maria.

"I am not worried about anything. People think we don't know anything about the players, that the players are all partying. This does not correspond to the truth; if players do things wrong, we talk to them.

"Neymar is unfairly criticised. He played a very big game. If he's a player who parties every day, he doesn't play a game like that, it's impossible."

On Pochettino, Leonardo added: "Pochettino, before arriving here, was a top-five [coach]; now, supposedly, he doesn't understand anything anymore.

"We have changed things. Opinions will be formed at the end. We are in a hurry at PSG, it's normal. With a team like that, we want to win this year, that's for sure.

"If we're going to succeed, I don't know. That we have all the means, I am convinced. We have a coach, we have a very large squad. Why would I be worried? We can be better. If we look at what we have, why would I be worried?"

Real Madrid should be punished for their pursuit of Kylian Mbappe, according to Paris Saint-Germain sporting director Leonardo.

Mbappe's contract at PSG is due to expire next year and Madrid have been open in their admiration for the France international.

Madrid president Florentino Perez suggested earlier this week that Los Blancos were optimistic about getting positive news on Mbappe in January – though he quickly followed that up by saying his comments were misinterpreted.

Karim Benzema then said Mbappe moving to the Santiago Bernabeu was only "a question of time".

PSG were reported to have rejected multiple bids for Mbappe from Madrid during the most recent transfer window, though Leonardo still feels the Spanish giants have been posturing for the best part of two years in the hope of getting the striker on a free transfer, and he says their conduct should be punished.

"From Madrid they deny, but I think Real Madrid have been doing a job to buy Mbappe [on a free transfer] for a long time," Leonardo said at the Festival dello Sport.

 

"For two years they have been speaking publicly about Mbappe. This must be punished.

"From Real Madrid I see a lack of respect for Mbappe. He is not a normal player, he is one of the best in the world.

"The manager, the board, Madrid players spoke about Kylian... I think it's part of their plan. Not respectful."

Mbappe confirmed earlier this month that he wanted to leave PSG in pre-season and Madrid was the only club he wanted to join.

Nevertheless, he did not rule out signing a new deal with PSG, and his mother even claimed this week that Mbappe is still in talks over a contract extension.

"Our idea is to extend Kylian Mbappe's contract," Leonardo added. "Nothing has changed in our plans.

"Kylian is a jewel, he is incredibly perfect for PSG. Then we have Kylian, Leo [Messi], Neymar. We've never planned PSG's future without Mbappe."

 

Paris Saint-Germain sporting director Leonardo hit out at Real Madrid for their "lack of respect" for the Ligue 1 giants and Kylian Mbappe amid their public pursuit of the French star.

After soon-to-be free agent Mbappe confirmed this week that he had asked to leave PSG before the start of the season, Madrid president Florentino Perez seemed to suggest the France international could join the LaLiga powerhouse in January.

While Perez claimed he was misinterpreted, Madrid star Karim Benzema said a move to the Santiago Bernabeu is a "question of time" as Los Blancos head coach Carlo Ancelotti told reporters he hoped Mbappe "enjoys himself" in the Spanish capital.

Leonardo has not taken kindly to Madrid's open desire to sign the 22-year-old.

"This is another example of the lack of respect for PSG and for Mbappe," Leonardo said in an interview with L'Equipe.

"In fact, in the same week a Real Madrid player [Karim Benzema], then the Real Madrid coach [Carlo Ancelotti].

"Now the president [Florentino Perez] talks about Kylian as if he was already one of their own. I repeat: this is a lack of respect that we cannot tolerate."

Mbappe has scored four goals and supplied three assists in nine Ligue 1 appearances this season, while he is yet to add to his tally in the Champions League through two matchdays.

Paris Saint-Germain are unhappy after alleged details of Lionel Messi's contract were revealed, although sporting director Leonardo insists the terms are "completely false". 

French newspaper L'Equipe reported late on Friday that Messi's deal in Paris is worth €30million a year for three years. 

The total worth of the contract, including loyalty bonuses, is €110m, the publication claimed. 

However, Leonardo has angrily responded to the report, explaining he could not provide the correct details due to confidentiality clauses but confirming the contract only spans two seasons. 

"We can't accept this on the front page of a newspaper like L'Equipe," he said ahead of Mauricio Pochettino's pre-Lyon news conference on Saturday. 

"This is unacceptable. This is completely false. I wanted to tell you that. 

"I think it's a lack of respect and we didn't like it. I don't understand the timing. 

"This is really very far from the truth, on the duration and the numbers. There are confidentiality clauses, but I can say that this is not the truth. The duration of the contract is two years. 

"It's wrong, it's not that, and we didn't like it." 

Messi is set to make his home PSG bow against Lyon on Sunday, having played 114 minutes across two away games at Reims and Club Brugge. 

The Barcelona great was included in the starting line-up for the first time against Brugge, attempting three shots and creating a further three chances. He is still waiting on his first goal or assist. 

Paris Saint-Germain sporting director Leonardo does not anticipate Kylian Mbappe leaving the Ligue 1 giants at the end of the season as he criticised the behaviour of Real Madrid.

PSG reportedly rejected three bids – the last one said to be worth up to €200million – from Madrid for Mbappe, whose contract expires at the end of the current campaign.

Mbappe is yet to re-sign in Paris, where PSG are determined to retain the World Cup-winning 22-year-old star.

LaLiga powerhouse Madrid are believed to be readying a move for Mbappe on a free transfer, but Leonardo made it clear PSG do not see their future without the France international.

"We were not happy with the behaviour of Real Madrid," Leonardo told Canal+. "Starting negotiations for one of the best players in the world in the last week of the transfer market generated a situation that we did not like.

"We were clear about our position with the offer. It was not enough, it was smaller than what we paid. The last offer they talked about never came. You can't organise a transfer market for two, three or four months and change your plans like that.

"I don't see Mbappe leaving at the end of this season. Nobody is thinking about the future of Paris Saint-Germain without Kylian.

"Kylian sort of represents the difference between the superficial and the deep. Kylian's relationship with Paris Saint-Germain is deep. That's why we don't think about anything else.

"Kylian represents many things. Not only because he is French or one of the best players in the world. He has a way of being that we like and one that everyone likes."

PSG are preparing to open their Champions League campaign at Club Brugge on Wednesday.

Since the start of the 2017-18 season, only Robert Lewandowski (41) has been directly involved in more goals in the Champions League than Mbappe (37 – 21 goals, 16 assists).

Across the last four Champions League campaigns (since 2017-18), only six players have been directly involved in 30-plus goals in the competition. Half of these currently play for PSG, with Mbappe (37), Lionel Messi (36) and Neymar (31) all doing so.

Real Madrid would not have bid for Kylian Mbappe if they did not know he wanted to move, according to Leonardo, but that does not mean Paris Saint-Germain will sell.

Widespread reports on Tuesday revealed a €160million offer from Madrid for Mbappe, considered to be their top target.

A bid was confirmed by PSG sporting director Leonardo on Wednesday – although he would not detail the exact amount – and has been rejected by the Ligue 1 giants.

Leonardo discussed the potential transfer at length with the media, outlining his anger at Madrid's approach for a player who has scored 133 goals and provided 58 assists across 174 games over four years at PSG.

The club would clearly like to keep Mbappe, whose 191 goal involvements since his debut rank third among players in Europe's top five leagues in that time, behind new team-mate Lionel Messi (236) and Robert Lewandowski (213).

But the World Cup winner, whose contract expires next year, has his sights set on the Santiago Bernabeu.

Leonardo said: "This seems clear, doesn't it? If Real Madrid make an offer a week before the end of the [transfer] window, it is because the player wants to leave.

"If Kylian wants to speak out and say he doesn't want to leave, then he won't leave, because that's our wish.

"Real have talked with the family, the entourage, otherwise they would not have done so [made the bid]."

This late-window saga comes as a real blow to PSG, who had enjoyed surely the best close-season of all leading European clubs.

Messi followed Gianluigi Donnarumma, Sergio Ramos, Achraf Hakimi and Georginio Wijnaldum in heading to Paris. Mbappe has not yet featured alongside Messi, who could make his PSG bow this week.

"We cannot be happy with this situation, because we did something this summer, we have created a dream, we will not let anyone destroy it or position themselves above the club," Leonardo added.

"Kylian is at the centre of the project but not above it. We created a positive atmosphere, a desire, an emotion. That was our plan."

Neymar, like Messi, is yet to feature this term, with Mbappe holding the fort in their absence, weighing in with a team-high three goal involvements in three games.

Cristiano Ronaldo, said to be keen to leave Juventus, would appear to be one potential replacement if Mbappe did leave, but Leonardo has not given it any thought.

"We never thought of a plan without Kylian," he said.

Paris Saint-Germain sporting director Leonardo has accused "disrespectful" Real Madrid of making an "illegal" approach in their pursuit of Kylian Mbappe.

The talismanic forward has reportedly told PSG it is his dream to play for the Spanish giants.

Los Blancos are said to have made a £137million bid to sign the 22-year-old France forward, who has less than a year remaining on his contract at Parc des Princes.

Mbappe has scored 133 goals and provided 63 assists in 174 appearances for PSG since his move from Monaco, winning three Ligue 1 titles.

 

Leonardo has pointed the finger at Madrid but insists that should the right offer be presented to the club, they will not stand in Mbappe's way.

"We verbally said no to Real Madrid," he said. "This is very far from what is considered to be a sufficient value – far from what we paid for the same player at 18 years old – especially since we will have to pay part of this sum to Monaco.

"The club's position has always been to keep and renew Kylian's contract. There have been several meetings in this regard, and that remains our objective. 

"We made a proposal to Kylian at the level of the other top players and we even did more recently. After that, if a player wants to leave, we're not going to hold him back. But he will leave on our terms. We do not close the door to anyone but we have not received a new offer.

"This proposal seven days from the end of the market looks like a strategy of Real Madrid to get a no from us, and then say that they tried everything to have the player free in less than a year.

"Real have had a disrespectful, incorrect and even illegal attitude since you don't have the right to contact a player directly. This is unacceptable."

Paris Saint-Germain sporting director Leonardo insists he is "very happy" with Mauricio Pochettino despite reports the coach wants to leave the club.

It has been claimed Pochettino, who only took over from Thomas Tuchel at Parc des Princes in January, has told the Ligue 1 giants that he wishes to terminate his contract.

The Argentine, whose contract runs until next year with the option of a further 12 months, has been linked with a return to Tottenham or a move to Real Madrid to succeed Zinedine Zidane.

However, it has also been reported that Pochettino would be prepared to stay at PSG for another season if required as he does not wish to sour his relationship with a club where he spent two and a half years as a player.

Speaking to Europe1, Leonardo said: "Mauricio Pochettino has two years on his contract with PSG and we're very happy with him."

Speculation around Pochettino emerged after he was unable to guide PSG to the Ligue 1 title, with Lille finishing one point above them to be crowned champions for the first time in 10 years.

They were also beaten by Manchester City in the Champions League semi-finals, having lost to Bayern Munich in the final last season.

Pochettino left Spurs in November 2019 despite leading them to the Champions League final that year as poor domestic results left his position untenable.

However, Spurs are said to be interested in bringing him back to north London, where he achieved four top-four finishes in five seasons, twice as many as the club managed in their previous 22 Premier League campaigns.

Pochettino was previously linked with Madrid and Los Blancos are again looking for a new coach after Zidane stepped down at the end of a trophyless season.

Former Inter boss Antonio Conte and academy coach Raul have also been tipped for the job at the Santiago Bernabeu.

Paris Saint-Germain sporting director Leonardo said while now is not the time to decide what is next for Neymar and Kylian Mbappe, he is "optimistic for the future".

Neymar was unable to lead a comeback on Tuesday as Mbappe watched from the sidelines – PSG beaten 2-0 by Manchester City, who progressed to the Champions League final 4-1 on aggregate.

Last season's runners-up PSG failed to land a single shot on target against City – the first time the French side have failed to do so in a Champions League game since 2003-04.

After falling short of the Istanbul showpiece, attention immediately turned to the futures of star duo Neymar and Mbappe, who are both out of contract in 2022 amid ongoing speculation.

Neymar has previously said "everything is almost settled" in regard to a PSG contract renewal though he continues to be linked with a Barcelona return, while Mbappe has been tipped to join Real Madrid.

"Honestly, now is not the time to decide or announce anything," Leonardo told RMC Sport. "We must be proud of what we have done.

"Our goal is to win. We played better in two out of four halves, we scored weird goals. There are a lot of positive things.

"We got out of very difficult situations during the competition. I'm optimistic for the future."

Riyad Mahrez scored twice for hosts City in Manchester, where PSG star Angel Di Maria was sent off for kicking out at Fernandinho with 21 minutes remaining.

PSG – who will now turn their attention to defending their Ligue 1 crown – were hoping to reach back-to-back finals, but Leonardo added: "We cannot forget what we have done over the past two years. We reached the final and lost 1-0 against a team that won everything. This year, we eliminated Barca and Bayern.

"The objective is always to win. Our form has made us a real candidate to win the Champions League. We must continue. It has been a very complicated year. We must be satisfied."

PSG pair Marco Verratti and Ander Herrera both accused referee Bjorn Kuipers of insulting them on Tuesday.

Verratti and Herrera reacted angrily to the decision to send off Di Maria as PSG became just the third team to receive a red card in both legs of a Champions League semi-final after Deportivo La Coruna-Porto (2003-04) and Lyon-Bayern Munich (2009-10).

"The referee told me 'f*** you' twice," Verratti told RMC Sport post-match. "If I do that, I get a 10-man ban. Of course I talk a lot with the referee, but I never say f*** you."

Herrera added: "We talk about respect with the referees. The referee tonight said f*** off to [PSG midfielder] Leandro Paredes. If we say that, we get a three or four-match ban."

On the incident, Leonardo said: "We talked about that. It's so clear that I don't even comment. It's a shame. I think there were a lot of situations that weren't possible - not being well managed."

Paris Saint-Germain sporting director Leonardo hopes to have happy news soon regarding contract extensions for star duo Kylian Mbappe and Neymar.

PSG have been in negotiations with both Mbappe and Neymar – who are contracted to the Ligue 1 champions until 2022 – amid reported interest from LaLiga.

Mbappe has long been tipped to join Real Madrid, while speculation continues to link Neymar with a return to Barcelona, where he left for PSG in 2017.

Asked about the pair after Mbappe's brace guided PSG to a 3-2 win at holders Bayern Munich in the opening leg of the Champions League quarter-final tie, Leonardo told Sky Italy on Wednesday: "I think we'll have some news that will make us all happy soon.

"We will soon get to a more concrete situation for Mbappe and Neymar contracts."

Mbappe has scored eight Champions League goals this season – the joint-most in a single campaign in the competition by a Frenchman, along with Wissam Ben Yedder in 2017-18 and David Trezeguet in 2001-02.

Since making his Champions League debut in the 2013-14 campaign, Neymar has assisted 26 goals, the most of any player in this time. The Brazilian has now been directly involved in 67 goals (41 goals and 26 assists) in 66 appearances in the competition.

Mbappe and Neymar have combined for 10 Champions League goals since their first season together in 2017-18, at least three more than any other duo over this period.

Leonardo, meanwhile, was also quizzed on Milan and Italy goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma, whose contract is set to expire at season's end.

Donnarumma – who worked with Leonardo before the Brazilian returned to PSG in 2019 – has been linked with PSG, Manchester United and Chelsea previously.

"I don't talk about transfers now, [Keylor] Navas is great," said Leonardo.

Paris Saint-Germain sporting director Leonardo believes Mauricio Pochettino can help refine the Ligue 1 club's identity.

Thomas Tuchel was sacked as PSG coach in December, with former Tottenham boss Pochettino confirmed as his replacement on January 2.

Leonardo said it was crucial for Pochettino to ensure PSG had their own defining philosophy but acknowledged that would take time.

"I think it's important to assert a style on the pitch, because Paris must have its identity," he told France Football.

"It does not happen in a few weeks but over several years. And I think Pochettino can allow us to refine that in a constant way and in connection with the DNA of the club."

Tuchel led PSG to back-to-back Ligue 1 titles and they reached the Champions League final last year before falling to Bayern Munich.

Leonardo said the decision to sack the German should have come as little surprise to the former Borussia Dortmund coach.

"We knew, and he [Tuchel] knew, that it would be difficult to renew his contract at the end of the season," he said.

"But there, we decided to anticipate a little. We did not change coaches to show off. I don't think it could be a surprise for Tuchel.

"It was not the first time that we discussed the situation together. Maybe he didn't understand me anymore."

PSG are top of the Ligue 1 table ahead of hosting Montpellier on Friday.

Thomas Tuchel was overperforming at Paris Saint-Germain this season and did not deserve to be sacked, according to his assistant Zsolt Low.

PSG finally confirmed Tuchel's dismissal on Tuesday after days of speculation, bringing an end to his two and a half year stay at the Parc des Princes.

The German coach won back-to-back Ligue 1 titles in his two full campaigns and also won the Coupe de France, Coupe de la Ligue and two Trophee des Champions.

Tuchel also guided PSG to a maiden Champions League final in 2019-20, where they were beaten 1-0 by Bayern Munich.

But he endured a fractious relationship with sporting director Leonardo after publicly calling out the club's transfer chief over a lack of spending heading into this season.

Not helped by a number of injury issues and a lack of pre-season, PSG lost four and drew two of their opening 17 Ligue 1 matches and entered the mid-season break down in third.

However, they beat Strasbourg 4-0 in what proved to be Tuchel's last match and are just a point behind top two sides Lyon and Lille, having also advanced from a tricky Champions League group and into the last 16.

Low has outlined the details behind Tuchel's sacking and says the timing of the decision came as a shock.

"We were surprised because on December 23, after winning a match 4-0 against Strasbourg, Leonardo brought us together to say that the club was no longer counting on Thomas for the future," he told Hungarian outlet Nemzeti Sport. 

"After facing considerable difficulties in 2020, after achieving historic success with PSG, after going through the group stage of the Champions League, and with the team in full swing in the league, it made the decision very difficult to understand. 

"And the fact that we were impacted by numerous injuries throughout the season, and had to come up against COVID-19. I think that it was a great professional success to finish the year the way we did. We overperformed, that is the truth."

Tuchel appeared to criticise PSG in an interview published on the day of the Strasbourg victory, in which he also admitted managing the club was more like being a "politician".

Although surprised at the timing of the sacking, Low concedes the tense relationship between Tuchel and Leonardo meant something eventually had to give.

"We were shocked," he said. "The summer window did not go as we wanted, the main players who left after the Champions League run were not correctly replaced. 

"That created tensions between certain board members and the staff, as well as with the sporting director who was espousing management principles that were different to that of the coach.

"I don't want to delve into the details. They had different ideas in a number of domains, and the difference in viewpoint accrued over time. This led to Leonardo deciding to create a future with a different staff. 

"To be honest this situation could not have lasted. It was better to stop now, nearly at the summit, to say goodbye with a great majority of wonderful memories. Not to have followed Thomas would have gone against my values."

Low, who has previously worked as assistant boss at Salzburg and RB Leipzig, added: "Before, I had the opportunity to take the place of managers at Salzburg and Leipzig, and I did not take those opportunities. 

"When I fight alongside someone, it is for better or worse. The professional relationship between Thomas and I is extremely tight, he keeps his word, he counts on me, that is why I feel part of the successes. 

"And the failures too. I arrived at PSG upon his call two and a half years ago, I was alongside him at all times."

PSG announced Mauricio Pochettino as Tuchel's successor on Saturday, with his first game in charge away at Saint-Etienne on Wednesday.

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