'It wasn't PSG's best night' – Pochettino happy with a point after below-par display

By Sports Desk December 04, 2021

Mauricio Pochettino accepts Paris Saint-Germain were not at their best in the 1-1 draw with Lens but believes a draw was a fair result.

Georginio Wijnaldum headed home in stoppage time to salvage a point after Keylor Navas had dropped Seko Fofana's long-range drive into his own net.

The result meant PSG have now picked up 16 points from losing positions in Ligue 1 this season – more than any other team in the big five European leagues.

PSG allowed a spirited Lens side 18 shots, and Pochettino acknowledged it was not an easy game for his side, who are now 13 points clear at the top of Ligue 1.

"You have to give credit to Lens, who are an aggressive team who played a very good game," he told a media conference.

"It wasn't our best night, but it's good that the team kept fighting. Lens is one of the teams that gives us the most difficulty.

"We lost a lot of balls, especially at the start of the match, which prevented us from putting ourselves in the right positions.

"The result is fair. We lacked a little precision and freshness due to our busy schedule."

Kylian Mbappe created Wijnaldum's goal with a superb cross after being introduced from the substitutes' bench in the 70th minute.

The France international has now been involved in 15 goals in Ligue 1 this season (seven goals, eight assists), with only Robert Lewandowski (17), Karim Benzema (19) and Mohamed Salah (22) doing better in Europe's big five leagues.

"I tried to give solutions to the players by making changes," Pochettino added. "Kylian has played a lot of matches in a row, he felt a little tired. We thought we had to give him a breather."

While PSG did manage to seal a late point, they have now gone two consecutive Ligue 1 games without a win for the first time since Pochettino took over in January.

Despite that, midfielder Marco Verratti was pleased with the result, praising his team-mates' character during a pulsating game.

"Lens are a team that plays in a very special way; it's a team that I like a lot, they have a lot of courage," the Italy international told Canal+.

"It feels good to play matches of this nature; you could say a little English style, with lots of chances on both sides. It was a very intense game, played until the end.

"We congratulate the Lens team, but we also showed a lot of character. We wanted to win today, but it was very hard."

PSG, whose place in the Champions League knockout stages has already been secured, take on Club Brugge in their final Group A game on Tuesday, before hosting Monaco in Ligue 1 next weekend.

Related items

  • Arsenal and Brazil striker Jesus undergoes successful knee surgery Arsenal and Brazil striker Jesus undergoes successful knee surgery

    Arsenal and Brazil striker Gabriel Jesus has undergone successful knee surgery.

    Jesus was ruled out for the remainder of the World Cup after sustaining an injury to his right knee during the Selecao's Group G clash with Cameroon.

    Head coach Tite died reports that Jesus was already carrying an issue prior to featuring for the five-time world champions in Qatar.

    According to unconfirmed reports in Brazil, Jesus will be absent for three months.

    Premier League leaders Arsenal on Tuesday confirmed he has started his rehabilitation programme.

    The 25-year-old has played a key role in the Gunners' impressive start to the Premier League season, which sees them five points clear at the summit after 14 games.

    Jesus' tally of five goals is only bettered for Arsenal by Martin Odegaard (six), while only Manchester City midfielder Kevin De Bruyne (nine) and team-mate Bukayo Saka (six) have registered more assists in the English top flight than his five.

  • Morocco 0-0 Spain (aet, 3-0 pens): Bounou the hero for Atlas Lions Morocco 0-0 Spain (aet, 3-0 pens): Bounou the hero for Atlas Lions

    Spain's bid to reach their first World Cup quarter-final since 2010 ended in frustration and failure on Tuesday as they missed all of their spot-kicks in a penalty-shoot out defeat to Morocco.

    After 120 minutes of goalless domination, in which they racked up 1019 passes, Luis Enrique's side capitulated in the shoot-out with Pablo Sarabia, Carlos Soler and Sergio Busquets all missing, the latter two efforts saved by goalkeeper Yassine Bounou.

    It left Madrid-born Achraf Hakimi with the chance to win it which he did with a Panenka to send Morocco through to the last eight for the first time.

     

  • Flick says Bierhoff exit is a professional and personal blow as Germany chief departs Flick says Bierhoff exit is a professional and personal blow as Germany chief departs

    Hansi Flick has revealed his dismay at Oliver Bierhoff leaving his role as Germany team director, with the coach stunned by the decision.

    Former Germany striker Bierhoff stepped aside on Monday, saying he had come "to an understanding on the matter with president Bernd Neuendorf" after the national team's group-stage World Cup exit.

    Neuendorf, in charge of the German Football Association (DFB), may now face a battle to appease Flick, who is due to remain in post through to the Euro 2024 finals.

    Germany will host that tournament, and Flick described it as having been a "common goal" of his work with Bierhoff.

    Flick said Bierhoff, who many will see as a scapegoat for Germany's World Cup failure, would be difficult to replace, both on a personal and professional basis.

    By Flick's reckoning, Bierhoff achieved great things during his 18 years with the DFB. He picked out overseeing the 2014 World Cup triumph as the peak of the achievements, but also noted the "professionalisation of the national team and its environment" and development of the DFB academy and campus.

    "He pushed all of this forward with great personal commitment and against a great deal of resistance," Flick said. 

    "At the moment, my coaching team and I are having a hard time imagining how the gap created by Oliver's departure can be closed, both professionally and personally.

    "Our cooperation has always been characterised by loyalty, team spirit, trust and reliability. Cohesion was in the DNA of our team.

    "Oliver was my first contact and friend within the team. Our common goal was the Euro 2024 project in Germany. For Oliver, the focus was always and exclusively on the well-being of the national team, the DFB and German football."

    The nature of Flick's reaction, which was published on Tuesday by the DFB, has sparked speculation about the coach's own future. Reports have said Thomas Tuchel, Ralf Rangnick or Fredi Bobic could be possible successors.

    Of Bierhoff, Flick said: "I would like to thank him personally and as the national coach for this long collaboration and the invaluable trust that has been placed in us. Trust is and remains the greatest asset in football.

    "The last few days have not been easy, and I wish Oliver and his family the very best from the bottom of my heart. German football and the national team in particular owe him an incredible amount."

© 2022 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.