Ramos' substitution was part of recovery plan, reveals PSG boss Pochettino

By Sports Desk December 19, 2021

Mauricio Pochettino said Sergio Ramos' withdrawal at half-time in the 3-0 Coupe de France win over minnows Feignies-Aulnoye was planned as part of his return from injury. 

Sunday's clash against the fifth-tier side – won thanks to a brace from Kylian Mbappe and a Mauro Icardi penalty – was just the 35-year-old's second appearance for PSG, who he joined on a free transfer ahead of the 2021-22 campaign after leaving Real Madrid.

His substitution at the interval suggested he had suffered a further setback in his bid to return to full fitness, but Pochettino insisted there is nothing to be concerned about.

"He's been with us for six months and he had a very difficult start to his adventure," the PSG boss told Eurosport.

"He wants to play. Today was very good. We resume little by little with these 45 minutes. 

"It was important for him and he needs to be in good shape to be able to help us. He still has to work a lot."

The involvement of the likes of Mbappe, Icardi and Marco Verratti was proof that Pochettino did not take PSG's opposition lightly, and the former Tottenham boss said he was pleased with his side's "professional" approach.

"I think they were very professional," he added. "It's never easy in these kinds of matches because these kinds of teams are completely different. You have to be serious and approach the match in the best possible conditions. 

"But I think our game was very professional. It was what we wanted. We have qualified for the next round."

 

Highly-rated teenager Xavi Simons made his first start for the club, impressing on the right-hand side of a front three.

He had five shots and made five key passes – a total bettered only by Verratti on the pitch.

Pochettino was pleased with his display and is confident the club's youngsters will continue to benefit from playing alongside such established stars.

"We have incredible players at PSG, and in particular talented young people who have the opportunity to train with the first team and to play sometimes," he said. 

"We can give them that opportunity. PSG are a special, different club, and they need to play, to learn, but I am very satisfied with what I saw tonight, especially from the young people."

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    New Paris Saint-Germain coach Christophe Galtier has pledged to end predecessor Mauricio Pochettino's practice of rotating between goalkeepers Gianluigi Donnarumma and Keylor Navas. 

    Galtier was announced as PSG's new head coach on Tuesday, with the former Lille and Nice boss signing a two-year deal with the club.

    The man who beat PSG to the Ligue 1 title when in charge of Lille during the 2020-21 season takes over a squad containing two world-class goalkeepers in Italy's Euro 2020 hero Donnarumma and three-time Champions League winner Navas.

    Pochettino used both goalkeepers often during his one full season in charge of the Parisian giants, with Navas making 26 appearances in all competitions and Donnarumma featuring 24 times.

    Donnarumma managed one clean sheet more (nine) than Navas did (eight) despite making two appearances fewer, while the two goalkeepers posted similar save percentage figures (Navas saving 75.76 per cent of shots faced compared to the Italian's 75.27 per cent).

    Speaking at his unveiling, Galtier argued having a nominated first-choice shot stopper would provide greater clarity.

    "I always work with a number one and a number two," he said. 

    "It's easier for me and for them to know their position within the squad. I haven't met them yet, but I will do it very quickly."

    PSG conceded 36 goals when winning Ligue 1 last season, the joint-fewest in the league alongside Galtier's former club Nice, who registered one more clean sheet (14) than the champions.  

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    Neymar has been assured he has a big part to play at Paris Saint-Germain under Christophe Galtier, but the new coach warned there will be action taken against any dissenters.

    There has been recent speculation about Neymar's future at PSG, with the French club reportedly open to selling him should an acceptable bid come along.

    Chelsea have been linked with a possible move for the Brazilian, who cost the French giants a world-record sum when he arrived in 2017 from Barcelona.

    Galtier was confirmed as the new head coach at Parc des Princes on Tuesday, taking over from Mauricio Pochettino.

    It was inevitable Galtier would be asked about his plans for Neymar, given the scrutiny the 30-year-old has been coming under, and the former Nice and Lille boss made it clear he can be important in the club's future.

    "Which coach wouldn't want to have a player like him in his team?" Galtier said "I have a very precise idea of ​​what I will expect from Neymar.

    "I will meet him, listen to him, but I want him to stay. For us, it's always better to have a player of such class with us."

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    Galtier said he wanted his squad to consist of players "that want to win, that want success and want to enjoy football".

    "I am not going to perform a revolution in the dressing room," he said. "I am here to listen and I know I have the support of everyone, from the board, to make decisions, and if any player, whoever it is, does not buy into the project there will be action taken."

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    PSG desperately want to add a Champions League title, too, and a failure in Europe would likely see Galtier come under pressure.

    He has the likes of Kylian Mbappe, Lionel Messi, Neymar, Gianluigi Donnarumma, Marquinhos and Marco Verratti at his disposal in a star-packed squad.

    Sergio Ramos, the veteran former Real Madrid captain, will also be hoping to be more heavily involved during his second season at PSG after an injury-disrupted first campaign.

    Galtier, who said he will take a "different approach" to his usual football style owing to the strengths of his squad, insists there must be unity within the group.

    "It is a privilege to have a squad with world-class players," he said. "Firstly, it is about speaking to them, and there won't be any compromises in terms of our strength as a group and the targets that we have set out. We have to have a common project without any compromises."

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    They were more chances starting in the second half, as Shaw tried to surprise the Mexican front again, but was denied the 2-0 lead by the goalpost. Ordonez, in the 54’, had the equalizer again, but barely missed a header that would have been an assist by Bianca Sierra. 

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