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Poch reveals why he subbed off Messi at HT

Pochettino reveals why Messi was subbed off at half-time in PSG's comeback win vs Lille

October 30, 2021 By Ali M.
Leo was withdrawn during the break while PSG were 1-0 down, a decision that raised several eyebrows.

Once again, Mauricio Pochettino grabbed the headlines by taking off Lionel Messi while PSG were trailing in a crucial clash with a Ligue 1 rival. Last time out, it was Lyon. This time around, it was Lille, with the Argentine being subbed off while the French league leaders were 1-0 down.

Mbappe, who has been Les Parisiens' only shining light in attack in Ligue 1 this season, was not available, with Angel Di Maria starting alongside Neymar and Messi. On paper, Leo was played down the middle, with Neymar starting on the left as usual, but once again, the pair failed to click as they used to during their Barcelona days.

Come the second half, Pochettino's men returned to the Parc des Princes pitch with the goal of overturning Jonathan David's opener, but a certain Argentine was missing from the lineup. Mauricio decided to take off the six-time Ballon d'Or winner at half-time, putting on Mauro Icardi instead, with the home side later pulling off a comeback as late goals from Marquinhos and Di Maria saw PSG emerge triumphant 2-1.

But what happened in the dressing room? Why was the Barcelona icon withdrawn so early when the hosts were chasing the game? Did the manager take a disliking to his countryman's performance? Speaking after the game, Pochettino offered insight as to why Leo came off, and once again, it had to do with his fitness.

According to the boss, the Ballon d'Or contender had an issue that prevented him from continuing, with the head coach hinting that the team doctor advised him to make this decision as a precaution. However, the South American tactician stressed that it was nothing serious.

"We have to wait. We spoke with the doctor. It's a precaution. He couldn't go on, but it's not a big issue. He will be available for the next game, " Pochettino said, as per Goal.

While a knock appears to be the issue, Messi's form at the Parc des Princes has still been concerning. La Pulga has three goals in three Champions League appearances for the French giant, but in Ligue 1, he is yet to score in five outings. Next up is a European encounter with RB Leipzig, whom he scored a brace against, but the Argentine will have to wait until Saturday's trip to Bordeaux to get his first French top-flight goal.


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