Mauricio Pochettino gave a damning assessment of Paris Saint-Germain's 3-2 Ligue 1 defeat at Lorient, declaring the performance to be "an accident".

PSG had the chance to return to the top of the table on Sunday and were on course to do so after a Neymar penalty in either half overturned Laurent Abergel's opener.

But Yoane Wissa netted a superb solo strike in the 80th minute before fellow substitute Terem Moffi streamed into the PSG half unchallenged to seal the points after an injury-time breakaway.

"We never got into the rhythm of the match, except when we managed to score the goal for 2-1," Pochettino told reporters.

"We are really sad with the result. We were too slow in the game, we gave Lorient too many options. We wanted to do something else but we did not succeed."

The defeat was PSG's first since Pochettino was appointed as Thomas Tuchel's successor at the Parc des Princes and the former Tottenham boss conceded there is plenty of work ahead as he tries to shape the team to his specifications.

"It is a problem of collective coordination," he said. "At 2-2, we wanted to go for the victory, which caused disorganisation and ended in our defeat.

"We are constantly looking to improve, to work. It's an accident, like can happen in football. We hope to be better in the next game."

PSG's central midfield two of Leandro Paredes and Danilo Pereira struggled to stamp their authority on the contest despite completing 92.2 and 95.5 per cent of their respective passes.

Marco Verratti was unavailable after testing positive for coronavirus but Pochettino refused to cite the Italy international's absence in mitigation

"Of course Marco is an important element, but you have to know how to play without certain players," he added. "It shouldn't be an excuse."

Lille subsequently beat Dijon 1-0 to move three points clear of PSG at the top, with Pochettino's side down in third behind Lyon.

Watford have signed Maurizio Pochettino from Tottenham.

Pochettino, son of former Spurs and current Paris Saint-Germain boss Mauricio Pochettino, will join up with the Hornets' under-23 squad initially.

A 19-year-old winger, Pochettino played eight times this season for Tottenham in Premier League 2 but did not make a senior breakthrough at his father's old club.

Watford have had a busy weekend ahead of Monday's transfer deadline, with former Everton and Newcastle United midfielder Dan Gosling joining from Championship counterparts Bournemouth and Spain international Gerard Deulofeu making his move to Udinese permanent.

Mauricio Pochettino refused to be drawn on whether Paris Saint-Germain will go into the transfer market ahead of Monday's deadline amid reports he could be reunited with Dele Alli.

PSG have won four and drawn one of their five games since Pochettino was appointed as head coach this month.

Pochettino has been linked with a loan move for out-of-favour Tottenham midfielder Alli, although Jose Mourinho this week said he expects the 24-year-old to stay at the London club.

Inter's Christian Eriksen, another midfielder who played under Pochettino at Spurs, has also been mentioned as a potential target for the Ligue 1 champions.

Pochettino, who confirmed his assistant Miguel D'Agostino has tested positive for coronavirus, was giving nothing away ahead of Sunday's trip to Lorient and said "we will see" when asked if Bandiougou Fadiga could join Brest.

He said in a press conference on Saturday: "You have reminded me about there being three days left [before the window closes], but we are not paying attention to that right now.

"I am focused on the team improving and performing at its best."

Lyon beat Bordeaux 2-1 on Friday to go a point clear of champions PSG at the top of the Ligue 1 table.

PSG will be expected to return to the summit when they take on struggling Lorient, but Pochettino warned they must not be complacent.

"For PSG, every single game is important and we want to win every game. The priority is always the next game ahead of you, which is Lorient," he said.

"We always expect the same from our team, which is to win and compete in the best way possible, knowing that we are against a side that will make it very tough for us."

Pochettino plans to fully utilise his squad with such a demanding schedule to contend with.

The former Argentina international said: "Before every game every week we analyse every player individually and all the players train hard.

"All the players here, whether they are playing more or less regularly, they have to know that they will have an opportunity and must take it when they get one.

"That way, they are ready to fit straight into the team. We are always open to changes, as a coaching staff we are always open to giving players the chance to improve. They need to be ready to show they deserve a place in the starting line-up."

Mauricio Pochettino denied he had turned down chances to coach Real Madrid and Barcelona.

Pochettino has been linked with the LaLiga giants previously, although he took over at Paris Saint-Germain at the start of the month.

But Pochettino said reports he had turned down Madrid and Barcelona were untrue.

"This is not the case, although there was a lot of talk at the time," he told Marca.

"We have a lot of respect for the teams that may have been interested in our staff.

"It wasn't like that and of course I have been approached by clubs, but the one we received with love was from PSG. And this is the ideal project."

After spells in charge of Espanyol and Southampton, Pochettino was at the helm of Tottenham for five and a half years before being sacked in November 2019.

He has overseen four wins in five games since taking charge of PSG, who are top of Ligue 1 ahead of visiting Lorient on Sunday.

Paris Saint-Germain boss Mauricio Pochettino said every coach in the world would want a player of Lionel Messi's quality at their disposal.

Messi, 33, is out of contract at Barcelona at the end of the season and the six-time Ballon d'Or has been heavily linked to PSG and Manchester City.

Pochettino only took over at PSG at the start of the month but is already facing questions over Messi's potential arrival.

The former Tottenham boss, though, said every coach in the world would want Messi.

"Sometimes words are unnecessary. With the question you ask me, everything is understood," Pochettino told AS.

"What coach in the world would not want to have a player of the calibre of which you are telling me? I totally understand the question, but it is looking for a controversy.

"It is a dangerous question if a word of mine is taken out of context … Pochettino will come disrespectfully, Pochettino talks about this, Pochettino talks about that."

Pochettino has previously spoken of the bond he shares with Messi thanks to their connection to Newell's Old Boys, where both were in the youth system.

While the 48-year-old paid tribute to Messi, he is also preparing to meet the star forward when PSG face Barcelona in the Champions League last 16.

"There is nothing left to say. I respect and admire him so much that I prefer never to say anything or refer to him. It is the best tribute you can do to someone," Pochettino said. 

"We share the two of us who have worn the Newell's jersey and that is something very big. That bond unites us. 

"That he is one of the best players of all time I will not discover and when we meet we will fight for our interests."

Kylian Mbappe will be at Paris Saint-Germain "for many years to come", according to head coach Mauricio Pochettino.

Real Madrid have been heavily linked with a move for World Cup-winning attacker Mbappe, whose contract with PSG is due to expire at the end of next season.

The 22-year-old has scored 106 goals and set up a further 54 in 147 appearances for PSG. Since his debut for the club on September 8, 2017, the only players in the top five European Leagues to have registered more goal involvements are Robert Lewandowski (184) and Lionel Messi (205).

Mbappe is in talks with the club about a renewal but has never hidden his admiration for Madrid boss Zinedine Zidane.

Pochettino is not worried, though, and believes Mbappe's future is at the Parc des Princes.

"Who doesn't love Kylian? He makes himself loved, with his smile, his face and his energy," Pochettino told Marca.

"At the age of 19 he was a world champion [with France], impressive things have happened to him, but he is special and different, with a lot of emotional intelligence.

"He has a lot of potential to develop but he is already [someone for the] present, not just the future. It's a challenge and a good thing to work with this kind of talent, it makes you a better coach. You give this type of player a solution and he gives you five back.

"There are a lot of rumours, but I think he will be at PSG for many years to come, and that's the club's hope. We are counting on him for as long as we are here.

"It's true that he has to make a decision [on his future], but he seems happy and very committed to this project."

PSG are open to the possibility of signing Messi from Barcelona, with the six-time Ballon d'Or winner able to leave Camp Nou on a free at the end of the season.

Asked if having Messi in his team would make him a better coach, Pochettino replied: "Whatever I say will be misunderstood, and I love what I have. Great footballers fit in any league and any team."

He was far more forthcoming when discussing Sergio Ramos, another high-profile player that will be a free agent at the conclusion of the campaign if he does not sign an extension with Madrid.

"After one month [at PSG] I am finding players with great leadership. The great [players] are able to play and coexist in different projects and cultures, but I am very respectful," said Pochettino.

"PSG's strategy has been the same for years, ever since we signed Ronaldinho: to look at market opportunities and bring in those who can improve what we have. We will see in the coming months.

"Here, Ramos would find a great club with the obsession to always win. PSG are one of the biggest [clubs] in the world."

Mauricio Pochettino knew it was only a matter of time before Kylian Mbappe returned to goalscoring form after netting a brace in Paris Saint-Germain's 4-0 rout of Montpellier.

Mbappe had been criticised following four games without a goal for PSG, and just two in his previous eight matches across all competitions.

But Mbappe responded to his critics with two goals and an assist as Ligue 1 champions PSG eased past 10-man Montpellier in Paris on Friday.

Mbappe is decisive every 58 minutes this season in Ligue 1 (14 goals and six assists) – the best ratio among players involved in more than one goal, per Opta. This is the first time he has been involved in three goals in the same league game (two goals and one assist) since February 2020 (against Dijon).

"I was happy before with his performance because his compromise, but also now that he has scored," PSG head coach Pochettino told reporters.

"We know that for a forward, to score goals or give assists it is fundamental, is part to generate this confidence that they need. So we are happy.

"We knew it was only a matter of time for Kylian to find himself again with the goal and the good performances."

After Montpellier goalkeeper Jonas Omlin was sent off in the 19th minute, Mbappe broke the deadlock 15 minutes later before teeing up star team-mate Neymar on the hour in the French capital.

PSG forward Mauro Icardi made it 3-0 a minute later, and Mbappe completed the scoring in the 63rd minute as the league leaders moved three points clear atop the table, with Lille due to play Rennes.

It was the first time in PSG's history that they scored three goals in the space of three minutes (three minutes and nine seconds exactly) in a Ligue 1 game.

Neymar and Mbappe have combined for 21 goals in Ligue 1 since 2017-18 – only the duos of Luis Suarez-Lionel Messi (31), Harry Kane-Son Heung-min (21) and Robert Lewandowski-Thomas Muller (25) have combined for more over the period.

Since his world-record arrival from Barcelona in 2017, Neymar has been involved in one Ligue 1 goal every 66 minutes (51 goals and 29 assists) – the best ratio among players involved in more than one goal over the period.

Neymar has scored 81 goals in 100 games in all competitions for PSG, but Pochettino praised the Brazilian's defensive contribution.

"I believe that the defensive and offensive balance is very important on every team," Pochettino said. "When you have so much talent inside the pitch, players so destabilising, you also run the risk of losing this defensive stability which is so much needed to compete in really big occasions.

"When the level of your opponent can be compared to you, the difference is not only made in the offensive phase, but if you are capable to defend and be able to recover the ball as soon as possible.

"I am happy too with the effort that Neymar has been doing in the last weeks. It is a player with an enormous amount of compromise. It makes us really happy but we already know what he does with the ball on his feet, but when he does this effort to help the team, that talks very well about him."

Leandro Paredes hopes Lionel Messi can be convinced to leave Barcelona for Paris Saint-Germain.

The Ligue 1 champions' sporting director Leonardo confirmed on Monday that the club are keeping a close eye on Messi's plans.

The six-time Ballon d'Or winner is in the final six months of his contract at Camp Nou and could decide to leave on a free transfer after this season, having failed to engineer an exit in 2020.

Paredes would love his compatriot to move to the Parc des Princes, telling reporters on Thursday: "It's natural to want him on your team. But that will be his decision.

"It's the club's responsibility to try to convince him. I hope we can have him with us. But, I repeat, it's his decision."

Paredes is already enjoying working with another fellow countryman at PSG in the shape of Mauricio Pochettino.

The former Tottenham boss took over from Thomas Tuchel this month and has enjoyed an encouraging start, winning three of his first four games in charge including the Trophee des Champions clash with Marseille last week.

Paredes has sensed a sharpening of effort in training and feels Pochettino has inspired a change in mentality.

"Having a coach of the same nationality helps," he said. "We share the same ideas. We get along well. We have to make the most of that.

"Every coach has his ideas, brings his own energy. The mentality is different for us now. We have new options in the game. There is more intensity in training."

Paredes, who joined from Zenit for a reported €40.2million in January 2019, has established himself as more of a first-team regular at PSG this season.

The 26-year-old has started seven league games this term, just one down on his same tally from 2019-20.

Paredes has the second-highest passing accuracy (91.7 per cent) of any of PSG's midfielders to play in at least seven games this season in all competitions.

He also averages just over two interceptions per 90 minutes, the best rate among his team-mates in his position.

"Getting to a club like PSG is never easy. The first six months were difficult but I feel good today," he said.

"I will stay, I hope, for many years. I'm happy in Paris with these team-mates."

Paris Saint-Germain head coach Mauricio Pochettino heaped praise on Kylian Mbappe amid doubts over his future with the Ligue 1 champions, though he was reluctant to discuss Barcelona superstar Lionel Messi.

Mbappe has been tipped to join LaLiga champions Real Madrid, but PSG remain committed to trying to re-sign the star forward – who is out of contract in 2022.

The 22-year-old has gone four matches without a goal, while he has managed just two goals in his last eight appearances for league leaders PSG.

Pochettino was asked about the possible renewal of World Cup winner Mbappe, who has scored 12 goals in 16 Ligue 1 appearances this term and 14 across all competitions.

"The club are working on retaining the best and he has a huge future ahead of him," Pochettino – who was absent from the win over Angers due to coronavirus – told Cadena SER's El Larguero programme. 

"What coach wouldn't want to work with Mbappe?".

Asked about Mbappe and Neymar after replacing Thomas Tuchel at the start of January, former Tottenham boss Pochettino added: "They've both welcomed me and are open to a new footballing proposition and I can only thank them for the warm reception."

Barca captain Messi has been heavily linked with a move to PSG as he prepares to become a free agent at the end of the season.

Messi has entered the final six months of his contract at Camp Nou and PSG sporting director Leonardo admitted the club are keeping a close eye on the six-time Ballon d'Or winner.

Premier League giants Manchester City have also emerged as a destination for Messi, while Serie A side Inter are believed to be interested.

But Pochettino refused to give much away when quizzed on Messi, saying: "To be honest, I haven't had time to sit with the president and talk about the transfer market as we're just focused on the present. So many times, a throwaway phrase can be twisted and used out of context."

When it was put to him that PSG are monitoring Messi, Pochettino replied: "No comment. When I was at Espanyol or Southampton, my dream was to have the best players at the club and Messi came close to being loaned out to Espanyol… The deal was well advanced but he delivered a great display in pre-season and that was the end of that.

"We've met over the years in places such as London or in Italy. We both share the love for Newell's, as we both came through their academy and that is our common bond."

"I'm aware of all that is going on. I've been watching everyone from West Ham to Valladolid and these days you need to keep your eyes on every team," Pochettino added ahead of PSG's clash with Montpellier on Friday. "I really don't want to talk about Messi as everything then gets blown out of proportion."

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.

Jesus Perez defended Kylian Mbappe after the Paris Saint-Germain star fired another blank as the Ligue 1 champions overcame Angers 1-0 to move top of the table.

Layvin Kurzawa's goal with 20 minutes remaining saw PSG edge Angers at Stade Raymond Kopa on Saturday, leapfrogging rivals Lyon in the process, though Rudi Garcia's side can return to the summit by topping Metz on Sunday.

PSG are six games unbeaten in Ligue 1, while the titleholders have kept 12 clean sheets this season – more than any other team in the top-five European leagues.

But Mbappe was a topic of discussion post-game after the reported Real Madrid target saw his scoreless run extend to four matches as he was withdrawn 10 minutes from time.

PSG assistant Perez, deputising in the absence of head coach Mauricio Pochettino due to his positive coronavirus test, praised the France international forward – who has scored 12 goals in 16 Ligue 1 appearances this term and 14 across all competitions.

"Kylian was instrumental in this victory," Perez told reporters. "He fulfilled his role. We changed his position during the match. 

"He then better attacked the spaces. He's less successful at the moment, but he has his share in that success. He worked hard for the team."

With Pochettino self-isolating, Perez took charge as PSG secured back-to-back league wins, having also claimed the Trophee des Champions during the week.

PSG duo Marco Verratti and Leandro Paredes exchanged 72 passes against Angers, the highest tally for a midfield pair in Ligue 1 this season.

Asked about Pochettino and his absence, Perez said: "He had contact with the players by video before the game. We too had it before the match and then at half-time to exchange. 

"We continued to discuss what we did this week. We also talked about training for the coming week. We will take advantage of this week's macrocycles to focus on specific points during the session. We prepared everything with Mauricio."

"It was difficult but we took the three points," he added. "Angers are a very well-organised team which gave us some concerns. But we went for this victory."

Paris Saint-Germain moved to the top of Ligue 1 as Layvin Kurzawa's solitary goal sealed a 1-0 win over Angers on Saturday. 

With head coach Mauricio Pochettino self-isolating after testing positive for COVID-19, assistant coach Jesus Perez took charge of the champions at Stade Raymond Kopa.

He looked set to oversee a frustrating draw before Kurzawa's first goal of the season 20 minutes from time secured back-to-back league wins following last weekend's victory over Brest. 

The result moved PSG two points clear of Lyon at the Ligue 1 summit, although Rudi Garcia's side can reclaim top spot if they overcome Metz on Sunday.

The hosts started in a confident mood and Pierrick Capelle forced Keylor Navas into a smart save after just two minutes. 

PSG belatedly woke from their slumber, with Kylian Mbappe clipping over after racing onto Neymar's pass before the Brazil international saw a close-range effort deflected into the side netting. 

Moise Kean then glanced a header wide as PSG ended the first half having failed to register a single shot on target. 

Mbappe flashed a strike into the side netting shortly after the interval, while Navas superbly kept out Lois Diony's diving header at the other end.

Paul Bernardoni diverted Mbappe's effort wide after the France star had been played clean through by Neymar, but the Angers goalkeeper could do little about Kurzawa's winner. 

Alessandro Florenzi's right-wing cross was deflected into the left-back's path and he powered home a fine volley from eight yards to secure PSG's 10th win in 11 games against Angers.

Mauricio Pochettino will miss Paris Saint-Germain's Ligue 1 clash with Angers after testing positive for coronavirus.

The club confirmed in a tweet that Pochettino had returned a positive PCR test and will enter self-isolation.

Assistants Jesus Perez and Miguel D'Agostino will take charge for Saturday's clash at the Stade Jean-Bouin.

After a 1-1 draw against Saint-Etienne in his first game at the helm, Pochettino has overseen a 3-0 win over Brest and a 2-1 Trophee des Champions victory against Marseille.

Wednesday's defeat of PSG's arch rivals secured Pochettino's first trophy of his career as a coach.

PSG are a point behind Lyon at the top of Ligue 1.

Paris Saint-Germain boss Mauricio Pochettino has defended Kylian Mbappe amid accusations the forward has lost form and focus.

France star Mbappe has scored only twice in his past seven games in all competitions, having started the season by hitting nine goals in as many games.

Beyond a lack of goals, the 22-year-old has been enduring a run of performances in which he has made few decisive contributions.

In his most recent five outings, Mbappe has twice failed to have a shot – including in Wednesday's 2-1 Trophee des Champions win over Marseille – and failed to create a chance for team-mates in three separate games.

He has also completed more than two dribbles in a single game on only one occasion in that run and has been criticised for losing the ball too often. Against Marseille, he lost possession 19 times, the most of any PSG player, and only dribbled past a defender twice.

Former PSG midfielder and coach Jean-Michel Larque, speaking via RMC, claimed Mbappe was careless against Marseille as he was trying to "ridicule" his opponents, adding that the player's current malaise means he "has no place at Paris Saint-Germain".

However, ahead of Saturday's Ligue 1 clash with Angers, Pochettino insisted Mbappe is striving to do his best.

"I'm very happy with Kylian's form," Pochettino told a news conference. "He is an important player for us.

"He is trying hard for the team. I'm happy with his effort and his involvement against Marseille.

"As with everything, we are always looking to improve but I'm pleased with Mbappe's effort and commitment. He's played 90 minutes in all three games [since Pochettino's arriva], which shows I'm pleased with the way he is performing.

"So much is expected of him and he's in the spotlight, but as I said, I'm very pleased with him and, over time, he'll get goals and more assists."

Asked if Mbappe needed a rest to recover top form, Pochettino said: "There are a lot of myths about the way you manage players in a team in terms of fitness.

"Our decisions are based on the best for all the players. Mbappe has played all three games because he is fit. He will improve with the more minutes he gets."

PSG head to Angers having not lost to Stephane Moulin's side in the past 20 league meetings since a 3-1 defeat in January 1975.

However, the champions have won only once in their previous four away league matches and have failed to win five of their past nine top-flight games, as many as in their previous 30 in the competition.

Mauricio Pochettino acknowledged the role Thomas Tuchel played in his first managerial trophy as Paris Saint-Germain beat Marseille 2-1 in the Trophee des Champions on Wednesday.

Mauro Icardi and Neymar – the Brazil international's 18th successful penalty from the 19 he has taken for PSG – scored for the Ligue 1 champions, while Dimitri Payet set up a tense finale with an 89th-minute strike for Andre Villas-Boas' side. 

PSG held on, though, to claim a record eighth consecutive Trophee des Champions crown and their 10th overall midweek.

It was only Pochettino's third game in charge of PSG and the former Tottenham boss made sure he recognised the work of Tuchel, who was dismissed as head coach on December 29. 

"I want to thank the players, Leonardo [sporting director] and Nasser Al-Khelaifi [president]," Pochettino – a Champions League and EFL Cup runner-up with Spurs – said. "I also have a thought for Thomas Tuchel and his staff, who allowed us to play this match."

"We are making progress in all areas where we want to implement our ideas. We have a very intelligent group of players, with great adaptability. We are very happy.

"I hope to win other titles, but the first one will always be special.

"The group has shown a lot of maturity, it has learned from its mistakes. It's a huge emotion to win with this staff, it's difficult to describe in words, especially since it's a club that made me become a better person, a better player."

Marseille finished the game having had four shots on target to PSG's three, although the Parisians enjoyed a whopping 63.6 per cent possession and completed 268 more passes than their opponents. 

Despite that, Villas-Boas believes his side did not deserve to lose. 

"It was a balanced game, with few chances for both teams," he said. "We were the best team. I think we didn't deserve to lose this game. PSG going 2-0 up went against the run of play

"Congratulations to PSG. The best honour they gave us was the party that followed, because we offered them a difficult match."

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