Lionel Messi and Neymar felt the wrath of Paris Saint-Germain fans as the Ligue 1 leaders moved 15 points clear at the top of the table with a 3-0 win over bottom side Bordeaux.

Boos and whistles were aimed at Messi, Neymar and their team-mates before and during the clash at the Parc des Princes, four days after PSG were dumped out of the Champions League by Real Madrid.

Kylian Mbappe was not targeted, despite reportedly being bound for Madrid, and the in-form striker opened the scoring on Sunday with his 26th goal of the season.

Neymar then responded to abuse from his own supporters by scoring in the second half and Leandro Paredes was also on target, with Messi involved in all three goals and also hitting the post as Mauricio Pochettino's side ended a tough week with a resounding win.

 

PSG were almost caught cold when Remi Oudin let fly with a rasping drive that was well saved by Keylor Navas in the first minute and Jean Onana's glancing header from the resulting corner flashed just wide.

Messi and Neymar continued to be targeted by PSG fans when they touched the ball, but the Argentina captain played a big hand in Mbappe's opening goal 24 minutes in.

The former Barcelona playmaker's reverse pass found Georginio Wijnaldum, who slipped Mbappe in with a perfectly-weighted ball and the France forward finished clinically with his right foot from inside the penalty area.

Messi was then given too much time to thread a pass through to Achraf Hakimi, whose cross was coolly dinked over Bordeaux goalkeeper Gaetan Poussin and into the net seven minutes into the second half.

Although PSG were denied a penalty due to offside following a VAR check, Paredes extended their lead just after the hour mark with a sweet left-foot finish after showing great skill and composure to leave two Bordeaux players on the deck.

Messi struck the woodwork with a long-range strike following a surging run late on as the boos continued to sound, with Pochettino looking distinctly unimpressed with the hostility as his side cruised to victory following back-to-back defeats.

Arrigo Sacchi says Gianluigi Donnarumma made a mistake by turning his back on Milan to join Paris Saint-Germain, criticising him for "choosing the money".

Donnarumma left Milan after being lured to PSG on a five-year deal last July after his contract with the Serie A giants expired.

The Italy goalkeeper's start to life in France has not gone to plan, as he has only made 18 appearances for the Ligue 1 leaders.

Donnarumma was at fault for the first of three Karim Benzema goals as Real Madrid fought back from two goals down to knock PSG out of the Champions League with a dramatic 3-2 aggregate win on Wednesday.

Former Rossoneri and Italy head coach Sacchi believes Donnarumma should have stayed at Milan.

"He made a mistake in choosing the money," Sacchi told the Corriere della Sera. 

"I also told his father and mother, last summer, here in Milano Marittima. Stay at Milan not so much for gratitude, but because it was the ideal place to grow.

"Never leave the places where you feel good. But he remains a great champion, I have known him since he was little more than a child, in the youth national teams."

PSG's latest quest for Champions League glory ended at the round-of-16 stage and it came as no surprise to Sacchi.

He added: "It is not a project. As George Bernard Shaw said, football is the art of compressing universal history in 90 minutes. In football, as in life, talent is not enough. 

"Money is not enough. It is the group that wins, never the individual. The game and the organisation are like the plot for a writer and the score for a musician. 

"The secret of everything is ideas. Anytime, anywhere. And I see few ideas at PSG."

Gianluigi Donnarumma will only grow stronger following his error against Real Madrid and remains one of the top three goalkeepers in the world, according to Gianluigi Buffon.

Paris Saint-Germain were eliminated from the Champions League in rather humiliating circumstances on Wednesday as they let slip a two-goal aggregate lead to lose 3-2.

PSG looked comfortable at the Santiago Bernabeu with an hour played, only for a Donnarumma mistake to gift Madrid the first of their three goals in a 17-minute comeback.

The Italy international effectively passed the ball straight to Vinicius Junior when under pressure close to his own goal and hat-trick hero Karim Benzema converted the cutback.

Donnarumma argued he was fouled by Benzema in the lead-up to his costly error in the last-16 second leg, but the goal was allowed to stand and Madrid did not look back.

But while the former Milan keeper has come in for heavy criticism for his display, Buffon insists his compatriot has the right mentality to respond.

"Mistakes like this will serve him; they are part of his growth path," Buffon told Corriere dello Sport. "I'm sure it won't have any negative repercussions, any problems for him.

"Besides, he's already shown he has the necessary strength to overcome delicate moments in his career. He's too solid to allow himself to be influenced by all this.

"He's one of the best in the world, among the top three along with Thibaut Courtois and Manuel Neuer. I have to say that otherwise I'm accused of being partisan!"

 

PSG have been eliminated from four of their nine Champions League knockout ties when winning the first leg – only Madrid (six times) have a worse record in the competition.

Donnarumma played both legs of the tie, but he has had to share goalkeeping duties with Keylor Navas this season, starting 18 games compared to the latter's 21.

The 23-year-old, who starred for Italy in their triumphant Euro 2020 campaign last year, has conceded 14 goals and kept eight clean sheets across those 18 appearances.

His 4.9 goals prevented – worked out by taking away the number of goals conceded from expected goals on target conceded – is among the best in Europe's elite leagues.

Only eight others boast a better return when taking all competitions into account, a metric led by Chelsea's Kepa Arrizabalaga, who has prevented 9.8 goals.

Courtois has a slightly better record than Donnarumma with 5.5 goals prevented, while Neuer – the other keeper referenced by Buffon – has let in 2.9 goals more than expected.

 

Taking aim at Donnarumma's critics, Buffon added: "Errors from goalkeepers are normal. Gigi can still give a lot for PSG. One or two mistakes a season are psychological.

"He made an unpopular choice joining PSG, but it must be respected. He wanted to fuel his ambition, something many didn't like. 

"They're the people who were waiting for this mistake. The problem is not the French who are enjoying it, but the Italians who were waiting for that."

Manchester United's search for a new permanent manager continues.

The Red Devils parted ways with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer last year after an underwhelming campaign despite the return of Cristiano Ronaldo.

Ralf Rangnick has taken over on an interim basis, buying United time to get the right man for the job.

TOP STORY - MAN UTD 'SOUND OUT' TEN HAG

Manchester United have "sounded out" Ajax boss Erik Ten Hag through intermediaries with no formal approach yet, claims Sky Sports.

Ten Hag along with current Paris Saint-Germain head coach Mauricio Pochettino are believed to be the two lead candidates for the top job at Old Trafford.

The report claims the Dutchman would be keen to speak to United if they make a formal approach.

 

ROUND-UP

- Italian champions Inter are ready to allow Alexis Sanchez to exit the club in mid-year reports Calciomercato. The 33-year-old's contract at San Siro runs until 2023 but Inter are keen to get his hefty wages off their books.

- England international Joe Gomez will seek a move away from Liverpool at the end of this season, claims 90min, as he seeks more regular game-time, having been a bit-part player this term. Leicester City, Tottenham, Newcastle United and West Ham are all interested.

- Brighton and Hove Albion are leading the race to sign Chile international Ben Brereton Diaz from promotion hopefuls Blackburn Rovers, claims TEAMtalk. Crystal Palace, Everton, Leeds United and West Ham are also interested.

- Mundo Deportivo reports that West Ham are interested in signing former Barcelona, Milan and Everton winger Gerard Deulofeu from Udinese.

- Fichajes claims Wolves are in talks with Shakhtar Donetsk's Pedrinho about a move to England, with players from Ukrainian clubs able to seek free transfers.

Kylian Mbappe moved beyond Zlatan Ibrahimovic to go second outright on the list of Paris Saint-Germain's leading all-time goalscorers when he struck against Real Madrid on Wednesday.

The France striker took his tally to 157 with a cool finish in the second leg of PSG's Champions League last-16 clash against Los Blancos. 

It was the prolific 23-year-old's 25th goal of the season in all competitions and means he has bettered Ibrahimovic's haul of 156 during his time in the French capital.

Edinson Cavani is the only player to have scored more goals for PSG, the Uruguay international finding the back of the net 200 times.

Mbappe has now netted 44 goals for the club in the Champions League, as well as 105 in Ligue 1, with the remainder coming in domestic cup competitions.

The two games in the Champions League round of 16 on Wednesday both feature favourites to go all the way in this season's competition. One is finely poised, the other... not so much.

Paris Saint-Germain nicked a one goal advantage late on in the home leg against Real Madrid but travel to the Santiago Bernabeu with plenty of work still to do.

Manchester City dispatched Sporting CP with ease in Lisbon to make the return fixture surely nothing more than a procession.

Here are some Opta facts ahead of both encounters to leave the mouth watering further ahead of the clash in Spain, and maybe even give the most optimistic of Sporting fans the slimmest glimmer of hope.

Real Madrid v Paris Saint-Germain

PSG were on top for much of the first leg in Paris, but it took a moment of genius from Kylian Mbappe in stoppage time to seal a 1-0 win.

That might be enough though as Madrid have been eliminated from nine of their last 10 knockout ties in the Champions League when losing the first leg, with the exception being a 3-2 aggregate victory over Wolfsburg in the 2015-16 quarter-finals.

However, PSG have been eliminated from three of their eight Champions League knockout ties when winning the first leg – only Barcelona (four) and Madrid (six) have been eliminated in this fashion more often.

Lionel Messi has failed to score in his last 695 minutes of action against Los Blancos in all competitions since scoring for Barcelona in May 2018. The Argentine had his penalty saved against them in the first leg, which was his fifth penalty failure in the Champions League (from 23 taken, excluding shoot-outs).

Mauricio Pochettino's men are winless in their last four away matches in the Champions League (D2 L2). They last had a longer run without a win on the road in the competition between September 2000 and October 2012 (10 games).

Karim Benzema, meanwhile, has scored 12 goals in his last 11 Champions League home games for Madrid. Overall, he has netted 64 goals for the Spanish side in the competition, behind only Cristiano Ronaldo (105) and Raul (66).

Mbappe, who has been linked with a move to Madrid and may well be an injury doubt for Wednesday, has been directly involved in 18 goals in his last 13 appearances in the Champions League, scoring 13 and assisting a further five.

 

Manchester City v Sporting CP

City eased to a 5-0 win in Portugal, the joint-biggest winning margin away from home in the knockout stages in Champions League history. The largest first-leg deficit to be overturned in the competition is four goals (PSG 4-0, Barcelona 6-1 in 2016-17).

Pep Guardiola's team have won their last six home matches in the knockout stages of the Champions League, and could tie a record that has been reached on five occasions previously (Bayern Munich – April 2002, Milan – April 2006, Manchester United – March 2009, Bayern – February 2017 and Madrid – February 2018).

Kevin De Bruyne – who scored twice in a 4-1 win over Manchester United on Sunday – could make his 50th Champions League appearance for City. The Belgian has been directly involved in 27 goals in his previous 49 (10 goals and 17 assists).

Riyad Mahrez has scored six Champions League goals this season and needs one more to set a record for most goals in a single season in the competition by a City player.

 

Sporting, on the other hand, have lost all three of their matches in the knockout rounds of the Champions League, conceding 17 goals in total (5.7 per game).

Ruben Amorim's side have failed to keep a clean sheet in any of their last 13 away matches in the Champions League, conceding 31 goals in the process (2.4 per game). This is already the longest run of away matches without a clean sheet by a Portuguese side in the competition.

Antonio Rudiger's future at Chelsea has been the topic of plenty of speculation.

The 29-year-old centre-back has been with the Blues since 2017 when he joined on a five-year deal.

Rudiger is yet to extend his contract with Chelsea, with plenty of interest in the Germany international.

 

TOP STORY – NEWCASTLE AND MAN UTD IN FOR RUDIGER

Newcastle United are ready to compete in the race to sign Chelsea defender Antonio Rudiger, claims the Telegraph.

The Germany international has drawn interest from Real Madrid while the Express reports that Manchester United are also considering a move for the defender.

Rudiger's contract with Chelsea expires at the end of this season, although he has not ruled out staying at Stamford Bridge.

 

ROUND-UP

- The Express claims Harry Kane has informed his Tottenham team-mates that he will remain with the club should they clinch a top-four spot and Champions League football.

Arsenal may move to re-sign Serge Gnabry from Bayern Munich, who previously spent four years with the Gunners, according to Football.London. Gnabry is valued at €75million (£63m).

Arsenal, along with Leicester City, have sent scouts to track Sassuolo forward Domenico Berardi, according to Nicolo Schira. The Italians are asking for €30m for their club captain, with interest from Napoli and Milan also.

- FootMercato claims Paris Saint-Germain and Chelsea are considering moves for Manchester City's Algerian winger Riyad Mahrez.

Neymar is relishing the chance to create more happy memories at the Santiago Bernabeu after declaring himself fully fit for Paris Saint-Germain's Champions League last-16 second leg with Real Madrid.

The Brazil international spent four seasons with Madrid's bitter rivals Barcelona prior to joining PSG in 2017, winning eight trophies – including the European Cup in 2014-15 – during his time in Spain.

He has found the net three times in 11 appearances against Los Blancos with PSG and Barca, two of those goals coming at the Bernabeu, including in a 4-0 LaLiga victory for the Catalans in November 2015.

Neymar had been considered a major doubt for the first leg with Madrid three weeks ago, but he made his return from a near-three-month injury lay-off to play the final 17 minutes of his side's 1-0 victory in Paris.

Having started PSG's three league matches since then, the 30-year-old is ready to make an impact in Wednesday's return fixture in the Spanish capital.

"I feel 100 per cent fit," he said at a pre-match news conference on Tuesday. "My injury lay-off was longer than expected, and it was a very tough injury to recover from.

"But I'm 100 per cent mentally and physically ready to help the team, help my team-mates and play a great game. It's a match where you have to all be ready.

"I had targeted this fixture for my return. It's a game that the players want to play, you have to enjoy every minute of these games. These are minutes that will not be repeated. 

"I focused and I worked to help the team. I'm going to give everything and do everything tomorrow. You have to have a very strong mentality to play a great game.

"I have a lot of good memories at this ground. I have scored goals and made assists here. Playing here is always special and not just for me."

 

Neymar is not the only former Barca player set to feature at the Bernabeu, with fellow forward Lionel Messi also expected to start against a team he inflicted a number of painful defeats on across 17 years in the Blaugrana's first team.

"It's a special match for me and Lionel because we played at Barca," Neymar said. "We are motivated. We want to play well tomorrow and to make some history for PSG.

"I feel good to help PSG. We're ready to play on Wednesday. This is a very strong team in front of us, with players with a lot of quality. But we're not going to give up or hide. We're going to give everything to try to win the game.

"I'm happy to play and I'm sure my team-mates have the ambition to play on Wednesday and go home with a victory."

Kylian Mbappe's late strike at the Parc des Princes leaves PSG as slight favourites heading into the second leg, but the visitors have been eliminated from three of their eight Champions League knockout ties when winning the first leg.

Only Barcelona (four) and Madrid (six) have a worse such record, while PSG have won just one of their previous five away games against Los Blancos in European competition.

But with this year's final being switched from Saint Petersburg to the Stade de France in Paris, Neymar is extra motivated to ensure that PSG get the job done.

 

"The final being in Paris is incredible for us," said Neymar, who has provided more assists (27) than any player in UEFA's primary club competition than any other player since his debut in September 2013.

"It makes us want to reach the final even more, more than ever. But we have to start on Wednesday. We've been working for a long time and Wednesday is a step towards our goal.

"It's a match between PSG and Real, which is always 50-50. There are no favourites as they are two strong teams. We have an advantage after winning 1-0 in the first leg, but we have to think about winning and playing even better.

"We have to attack and defend together. These are things that can help us win the Champions League if we play together. If we play together, we have the possibility of winning the match, but not only that."

Cristiano Ronaldo's return to Manchester United may be coming to a premature end.

The Portuguese forward has struggled since Ralf Rangnick's arrival as interim manager in December.

United are also battling to finish in the Premier League's top four.

TOP STORY - RONALDO COURTS MOVE TO MESSI'S PSG

FootballTransfers claims that Ronaldo has decided that he will leave Manchester United if they do not qualify for the Champions League, with a move to join Lionel Messi at Paris Saint-Germain on his agenda.

Speculation about Ronaldo's future at Old Trafford ramped up after he missed Sunday's Manchester derby due to a hip flexor injury and flew to Portugal.

The report that claims that Ronaldo returning to Juventus has been ruled out, along with his original Portuguese club Sporting CP, with the five-time Ballon d'Or courting a move to Paris.

 

ROUND-UP

- Defensa Central reports that Newcastle United have commenced talks with Real Madrid over a move for 31-year-old ex-Chelsea forward Eden Hazard who has had an underwhelming spell with Los Blancos.

- Manchester United's Marcus Rashford has a list of clubs circling for his services with Arsenal, Newcastle and West Ham all interested, according to 90Min.

- The Mail claims that PSG will make a move for Rashford too, should Kylian Mbappe leave the French capital to join Madrid.

- Manchester City and Madrid are in the lead to sign Borussia Dortmund forward Erling Haaland ahead of Bayern Munich and Barcelona claims The Athletic.

- RB Leipzig midfielder Christopher Nkunku is being tracked by Chelsea and Man City according to FootMercato.

Paris Saint-Germain midfielder Marco Verratti says the French giants must be at 100 per cent to seal Champions League qualification against Real Madrid on Wednesday.

The Ligue 1 leaders head to the Santiago Bernabeu with a 1-0 first leg lead after Kylian Mbappe's superb late winner at the Parc des Princes as they bid for a first ever European crown.

Madrid failed to register a single shot on target in Paris, just the second time they have done so in the Champions League since 2003-04, with the other occasion also coming against PSG in September 2019.

But Verratti has urged his team-mates to forget about their first leg triumph and says PSG will come unstuck if they perform at anything less than 100 per cent.

"I don't think we can think about the first leg and the result too much", the Italy international said. "It's like we played the first half and we've still got the second half to play. 

"We've got a slight advantage but that doesn't mean anything. We can't just look to defend, especially because that's not our style of play. We don't know how to do that. 

"We'll need to try and play our game and be at 100 per cent, whether it's mentally or technically. 

"We need to do our best to put in a big performance because against Madrid, 80 per cent won't be enough. 

"They won't give us anything for free. We'll need to earn qualification and [we will] go there to win."

 

PSG are looking to avoid an all-too familiar Champions League collapse when they visit Spain. They have been eliminated from three of their eight Champions League knockout ties after winning the first leg. Only Barcelona (four times) and Real Madrid (six times) have been eliminated in this fashion more often.

Verratti featured in their Champions League final loss to Bayern Munich in 2020 as well as a series of other European near-misses, and remains determined to bring continental success to the club that he joined in 2012. 

"I'm in love with this club," the midfielder said. "I have grown up with the club, I have been here for 10 years. It's a special team, special in every way. 

"It's a team that I know will one day do even more than it does today, and that it will be even more incredible.

"We know that there are other teams who have the same goal as us, but we are getting closer. We have made a final and a semi-final in two consecutive years, and it's not easy to achieve in this competition where you always play great teams. 

"But we have to try and give it our all. We need to be at 100 per cent, then we can leave the pitch with our heads held high."

Georginio Wijnaldum only joined Paris Saint-Germain in June but is reportedly unsettled.

The 31-year-old Dutch midfielder had signed a three-year deal with the Parisians.

Wijnaldum has been linked with several clubs given his situation.

TOP STORY – VILLA PLOT WIJNALDUM MOVE

Steven Gerrard's Aston Villa are considering a move for PSG's Wijnaldum , claims Sport.

Gerrard is keeping tabs on ex-Liverpool midfielder Wijnaldum, who is reportedly ready to leave PSG whom he joined less than 12 months ago.

The Villans were quoted with a £21million price tag for Wijnaldum who is contracted until 2024.

 

ROUND-UP

- Marca claims that 35-year-old Luis Suarez will leave Atletico Madrid at the end of this season, with Inter, Ajax and Sevilla pursuing him along with unnamed Brazilian clubs.

- Newcastle United will table a £50m offer for Bayer Leverkusen's French winger Moussa Diaby,  according to the Mail. Leverkusen have set a £75m valuation for Diaby.

- PSG want to re-sign Italy international forward Moise Kean, who is currently on loan at Juventus from Everton, claims Calciomercato. Kean was on loan at PSG last season, netting 17 goals in 41 appearances.

- Football Insider reports that Arsenal are monitoring Aston Villa striker Ollie Watkins as a cut-price forward option if moves for Alexander Isak, Dominic Calvert-Lewin or Darwin Nunez fail to materialise.

Manchester United's search for a new manager continues after axing Ole Gunnar Solskjaer in November.

The Red Devils are taking their time with the appointment, with Ralf Rangnick in an interim role until the end of the season.

United hope the next man in can turn their fortunes around, having struggled to be Premier League contenders since Alex Ferguson's retirement in 2013.

TOP STORY – UNITED SHORTLIST HASENHUTTL

Manchester United have added Southampton manager Ralph Hasenhuttl to their shortlist, according to The Mirror.

PSG boss Mauricio Pochettino and Ajax’s Erik ten Hag remain the front-runners, but United face a battle to persuade either to head to Old Trafford.

Current United interim manager Ralf Rangnick worked with Hasenhuttl at RB Leipzig and the club are admirers of the Austrian.

ROUND-UP

- Atletico Madrid are considering making a move for Paris Saint-Germain midfielder Georginio Wijnaldum, reports Mundo Deportivo. Wijnaldum is weighing up his future at PSG despite moving to France only last year.

- Fabrizio Romano claims Chelsea's Andreas Christensen has turned down offers from other Premier League clubs and is on the verge of agreeing to a deal with Barcelona.

Lazio could make a loan move for Chelsea goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga, with manager Maurizio Sarri keen to be reunited with the Spain international, reports Corriere dello Sport.

- The Sun claims West Ham are plotting a move for Lille's 20-year-old midfielder Amadou Onana, who is valued at £20m by the French club.

Crystal Palace have joined the pursuit for Marseille's out-of-contract midfielder Boubacar Kamara, alongside Newcastle United and West Ham, according to the Sun.

Mauricio Pochettino has suggested Paris Saint-Germain's defeat against Nice came down to misfortune more than anything else, after Andy Delort struck late to sink the Ligue 1 leaders.

The title frontrunners came up short against Christophe Galtier's hosts at Allianz Riviera thanks to the Algerian striker's late finish.

With the suspended Kylian Mbappe's absence leaving Les Parisiens short in attack, they have now lost consecutive league games on the road for the first time since April 2019.

Pochettino admitted that his side had not done enough to claim victory, but maintained Nice had not earned their three points either, chalking it up as something of a sporting incident.

"We thought it was going to end in a draw because neither of them had done enough to win," the Argentine stated in his post-game news conference.

"We had control of the game, especially in the second half, but we took a goal in transition and we lost. There's not much to analyse. There are times when if you cannot win, you mustn't lose."

With a Champions League last-16 second leg against Real Madrid to come, Pochettino was keen to re-focus thoughts towards the future, rather than dwell on Saturday's result.

"We are preparing for a competition that everyone in Paris is waiting for and that everyone dreams of," he added. "Wednesday will be a different game, a different opponent, a different competition. I have no doubts that we will play the game that we have to do".

Having guided Lille to the top-tier crown last term before a shock exit, Galtier has set about returning Nice to the upper echelons of the domestic pyramid in the south of France.

His win over PSG notched his fourth consecutive clean sheet as a manager against Saturday's opponents, while match winner Delort was one of his major signings last summer.

Speaking to Canal+ after the match, the Algeria striker was quick to heap praise on his coach too, stating: "He's the best coach in Ligue 1 and I hope he'll stay with us for a long time."

Paris Saint-Germain will be without the suspended Kylian Mbappe against Nice, but Mauricio Pochettino knows his side should not rely on individual performances from one of the world's best players.

PSG are 15 points clear at the Ligue 1 summit ahead of a clash with third-placed Nice on Saturday, but they will not have Mbappe among their ranks.

The France international will return for the second leg of their Champions League last-16 clash with Real Madrid, who he has been heavily linked to when his contract expires at the end of the season.

Mbappe has dominated for PSG this season, scoring 14 times and assisting 10 goals in Ligue 1, while creating a team-leading 47 chances.

No other PSG player has more than five goals (Danilo Pereira) and only Lionel Messi has as many assists, but Pochettino insisted his side cannot continue to rely on individuals to come up with match-winning moments.

"We're talking about one of the best players in the world," Pochettino said of Mbappe's absence at Friday's pre-match news conference. 

"The psychological aspect is important for his team-mates and the opponent. But we know it can happen during a season. The important thing is that the squad believes in its collective strength. 

"We have to develop the idea that the squad isn't strong thanks to individual performances, but rather thanks to its collective strength, which is something we have to cultivate despite having players missing."

PSG's away form in the top flight has come under scrutiny this campaign, picking up 25 points on the road in comparison to 37 at home.

But Pochettino assured that his team's away challenges are normal as they prepare for a trip to Coupe de France finalists Nice, who have won just one of their last 17 top-flight meetings against PSG.

"It can happen during a season. It happens to every big club – and not only to Paris – to play less well away from home," he added. 

"There's no single factor that determines that. We try to play each game in the same way, whether it's home or away. 

"We analyse the way in which we play, looking to dominate, if there is pressure, or a difficult atmosphere in terms of the opponent.

"We also have to acknowledge the contribution of our fans, who generate an atmosphere and give energy, that has an impact, not only on our players but also it negatively affects the opposition."

Pochettino, whose side have lost just one of their last 17 league matches, will see his side take a slender 1-0 lead to Madrid on Tuesday, but his focus remains on one game at a time.

"We have to be focused on the match against Nice and find the right tactics to win," he continued. 

"For the second leg, there will be players missing in Madrid. As for us, we'll see after Saturday's game which players are available. We'll see which is the best team to play Real after the Nice match. 

"We have to be competitive and focused on Saturday's game, out of respect for the competition and for Nice. The best means of preparing for big Champions League matches is to be focused all the time."

Leonardo says Mauricio Pochettino has "never asked to leave" Paris Saint-Germain despite links to Manchester United.

Meanwhile, the PSG sporting director also suggested that signing injury-hit defender Sergio Ramos may have been a "mistake".

Pochettino joined PSG in January 2021 and is likely to add this season's Ligue 1 title to the Coupe de France he won last campaign, with his star-studded side opening up a 15-point lead at the top of the table.

However, rumours have continually linked Pochettino to the Old Trafford hot-seat, which caretaker boss Ralf Rangnick is set to vacate at the end of this season, and the PSG coach is said to have long-term admirers within the United hierarchy.

United's football director John Murtough this week said that a "thorough process" to appoint a new manager was underway, but Leonardo insists Pochettino has never voiced a desire to leave the French capital, and that there has not been any contact with rumoured replacement Zinedine Zidane.

"Honestly, we haven't thought about a coaching change," Leonardo told L'Equipe. "[Pochettino] has a year left on his contract.

"We've never contacted Zidane or anyone else. Before he came here, Pochettino was among the best five coaches, and he still is. 

"He may have had moments of doubt, but he's never asked to leave."

Leonardo was also asked about the condition of Ramos, who has been limited to just four Ligue 1 appearances since joining from Real Madrid due to injury.

 

While Leonardo refused to say Ramos' playing career could be over, he expressed regret about the persistent injury woes suffered by the 35-year-old and appeared to hint that his signing may have been a "mistake".

"He was well physically when we signed him," he said of the former Madrid captain.

"Up to now he has played five games [in all competitions]. Unfortunately, it has not happened as we imagined. It's hard for him, for everyone, but our reports are clear. 

"The day it is said he can't play any more, it will be clear for everyone. But it's not the case.

"Not playing makes it difficult for him to be a leader, but we will wait before drawing conclusions; the season is not over. 

"But I'm not afraid to own up to mistakes when I make them."

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