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."

Kylian Mbappe looks set to end one of the biggest transfer sagas of recent seasons by penning his deal with Real Madrid next week.

The Paris Saint-Germain striker will reportedly move to Santiago Bernabeu on a free transfer at the end of the season.

It will mark the end of a lengthy pursuit by Los Blancos, despite the Ligue 1 club's efforts to keep their star man.

 

TOP STORY - MADRID CLOSING IN ON MBAPPE

Mbappe will confirm his future in a matter of days by putting pen to paper on a contract with Real Madrid, claims Marca.

The France international was pursued by Los Blancos last year, but instead remained with Paris Saint-Germain to see out the rest of his contract.

That expires at the end of this campaign, and despite PSG's resistance, the forward will confirm his future at Santiago Bernabeu with a free move before the month is up.

ROUND-UP

- Manchester City have locked a deal in place for the capture of Borussia Dortmund star Erling Haaland, according to the Daily Mail. City look to have beaten off several European rivals for the Leeds-born Norway international, and are now set to discuss personal terms.

- Scotland international Kieran Tierney is set to be the subject of a move from Madrid, claims 90min. The Arsenal star has helped form the bedrock of a Gunners revival this term and his performances have not gone under-the-radar when it comes to Los Blancos and their interest.

- Antonio Conte is willing to consider an extension at Tottenham, providing the club can show that they have "vision", says the Guardian. The Italian has endured a topsy-turvy tenure so far in north London, but remains one of the most respected coaches in the game.

- Crystal Palace star Conor Gallagher is unsure where his future lies following his success on loan at Selhurst Park this season, according to ESPN. The Chelsea man is with the Eagles on a year-long deal, and has picked up England honours during his tenure.

- Atletico Madrid are thinking about a move for Barcelona's Sergi Roberto. According to Fichajes, the midfielder is frustrated at his lack of consistent game-time and LaLiga's champions could swoop for him.

Gianluigi Donnarumma says Paris Saint-Germain will recover from the "hard blow" of crashing out of the Champions League as they turn their attention to winning Ligue 1.

PSG capitulated in the second leg of their round-of-16 tie against Real Madrid, squandering a two-goal lead to lose 3-2 on aggregate at the Santiago Bernabeu on Wednesday.

Italy goalkeeper Donnarumma was at fault for the first of Karim Benzema's three goals, an error that sparked an incredible Madrid fightback.

The former Milan man has called on the Ligue 1 leaders to regroup as they prepare to face Bordeaux on Sunday.

He tweeted: "The elimination from the Champions League was a hard blow.

"The last two days have not been easy, but we come out stronger from these moments of difficulty.

"Now we have to think about the present, about winning Ligue 1, giving everything as I have always done for this shirt, for this club and for our fans. Let's start again together! Allez Paris."

Former Italy keeper Gianluigi Buffon earlier backed Donnarumma to silence his critics.

Taking aim at Donnarumma's critics, Buffon told the Corriere dello Sport: "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."

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.

Paris Saint-Germain sporting director Leonardo says now is not the time to discuss the future of head coach Mauricio Pochettino and the club do not need to "start all over again" after their Champions League collapse against Real Madrid.

PSG had looked set for a quarter-final spot when Kylian Mbappe doubled their aggregate lead at the Santiago Bernabeu with a first-half opener.

But Karim Benzema's 17-minute hat-trick saw the Ligue 1 leaders eliminated from the Champions League after a first-leg victory for the fourth time, with only Madrid themselves have gone out in such a fashion on more occasions (six times).

Whilst adamant that Benzema had fouled PSG keeper Gianluigi Donnarumma in the build-up to the first of his three goals, Leonardo conceded changes were needed but not a large-scale rebuild. 

"It's a blow," Leonardo told RMC Sport after PSG's 3-2 aggregate reverse. 

"We can't bury everything that has been done. It's difficult to analyse.

"The foul on Donnarumma was decisive, but we had difficulty managing this moment. We lost control, we have to look for solutions. It's a shame that a decision is decisive in this kind of moment, but we have to keep calm. 

"We made mistakes, we have to change things, but we don't have to review everything.

"We must not throw everything away and put everything in the trash. We must not start all over again from scratch with each defeat.

"The objective is to win the Champions League, and until half-time of this match we were good."

The defeat is certain to lead to renewed speculation regarding the future of Pochettino, who has been strongly linked with a move to Manchester United in the close season.

But Leonardo says the former Tottenham coach remains in their plans, at least for the time being.

"We must stay together. Pochettino is still in the project for this season," he added.

"This is not the time to think about that [the coach's future]."

Paris Saint-Germain's latest quest to win the Champions League was ended by Real Madrid on Wednesday.

The Ligue 1 leaders squandered a 2-0 aggregate lead with just half an hour of the tie remaining, losing 3-1 in the second leg and 3-2 on aggregate thanks to Karim Benzema's hat-trick.

It means head coach Mauricio Pochettino could already be looking ahead to a change of scenery.

 

TOP STORY – POCHETTINO SET FOR PSG SACK AND COULD TURN TO MAN UTD

Mauricio Pochettino's job is "hanging by a thread" at PSG, according to the Telegraph.

It is claimed the Argentine can expect to leave the club at the end of the season following their Champions League collapse against Real Madrid.

Pochettino has long been linked with the Manchester United manager job and could now start to prepare for the prospect of taking over at Old Trafford.

 

ROUND-UP

Cristiano Ronaldo has spoken with agent Jorge Mendes over his future at Manchester United, claims the Sun. Meanwhile, Bild reports the Red Devils are interested in signing Robert Lewandowski.

Paul Pogba is another who could be leaving Old Trafford this year, but Juventus are not yet certain whether to try to re-sign him on a free transfer or offer a new contract to Paulo Dybala, Tuttosport claims.

Barcelona are close to concluding an agreement with Chelsea defender Andreas Christensen, according to Sport.

Arsenal want to sign two new strikers and a midfielder as part of a major squad overhaul, the Standard says. Alexander Isak, Dominic Calvert-Lewin, Jonathan David and Darwin Nunez are among the forwards being tracked.

- A consortium led by British businessman Nick Candy is working on a £2.5billion bid to buy Chelsea from Roman Abramovich, the Guardian reports.

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.

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.

In many ways, patience isn't a virtue we can truthfully say is embraced in modern football, whether that's with respect to managers or players.

When someone's level dips, people – or specifically social media trolls – are quick to brandish them "frauds" or "finished" like rabid animals sated by black-or-white so-called "hot takes".

If there's one player on the planet who deserves that patience, it's surely Lionel Messi. But so accustomed has the world become to his usually incomparable excellence that any opportunity to humanise him with blinkered criticism was going to be gobbled up by those who are – bizarrely – so eager for him to fail.

While that's not to say Messi is above criticism, and there have certainly been times this season when questions were fairly asked of his performances, we have to keep in mind a host of extenuating circumstances.

For one, a 34-year-old not being quite as good as he was at 30 is perfectly normal. Then you have to consider he had no pre-season, had major upheaval in his life with the move from Barcelona and then struggled with fitness in the early weeks of the season.

But ahead of a Champions League last-16 second-leg trip to his old nemeses, Real Madrid, Messi appears in fine shape and will no doubt be eager to end his 695-minute goalless run against Los Blancos.

So, if he has been effective lately, what does the criticism of him relate to? And is Messi truly on a downward spiral?

The elephant in the room

Let's get this out of the way nice and early. Yes, it's unequivocal that Messi's output in front of goal is not what we're used to seeing from him.

He has scored just twice in Ligue 1 this season, which admittedly is absurd when you consider he's not failed to reach double figures for league goals since 2005-06 when he netted six times in 17 games.

But let's not forget, for the majority of his Barcelona career, their teams were built around him and, perhaps most importantly, many of those sides were exceptional. Are PSG?

Messi is unquestionably proving wasteful in front of goal, with this the first season since Opta began collecting expected goals (xG) data (2010-11) that he has underperformed in relation to that metric.

So far across all competitions in 2021-22, Messi averages 0.44 non-penalty (np) xG every 90 minutes, but his actual np goals output is 0.23.

There's no argument here – Messi should be scoring more than he has based on the quality of the chances that have fallen his way, but by no means does that mean he's been a liability.

Still creator in chief

While Messi may not be posting the kind of figures in front of goal that we are used to seeing from him, it's worth highlighting how he remains a key contributor on the creative side for PSG.

In fact, if he maintains his 2.65 chances created every 90 minutes (all competitions) for the remainder of the season, it will be his third-most productive campaign ever in that regard.

There is plenty of value in the chances he's creating as well. On a per-90 basis, Messi's expected assists (xA) is 0.38 this season, only a slight reduction on the past two seasons (0.43 and 0.42) when, let's remember, he was playing in a Barca team built entirely around him.

As such, his haul of 10 assists in Ligue 1 has him level at the top of the chart with Kylian Mbappe despite playing 698 fewer minutes than his team-mate.

Further to that, he continues to play an influential role in PSG's build-up play as well and has been particularly effective in recent weeks.

Since February 1, Messi (7.7) comes second to Mbappe (9.2) for the most shot-ending sequence involvements in Ligue 1 (minimum 180 minutes played). But when you only consider passages where they have not had the shot, Messi (6.4) is only behind Marco Verratti (7.0), demonstrating just how involved he is in their general build-up play.

Working in Mbappe's shadow

Mbappe has, of course, been at the fore of PSG's Ligue 1 title surge and progress in the Champions League. With 38 goals involvements, at a rate of one every 74.5 minutes, it's fair to say he has been the one consistently lethal weapon in their star-studded attacking arsenal.

Neymar has been in and out of the team this season due to injury, while Messi's issues we have already gone over. Clearly, if PSG are successful at home – seemingly a certainty – and in Europe, Mbappe, the scorer of their excellent winner in the first leg against Madrid, will have been the catalyst.

But we shouldn't gloss over what Messi has contributed.

His record of 0.82 expected goal involvements per 90 minutes (all comps) is only marginally lower than Mbappe's (0.87). For the latter, this looks like to be his finest individual campaign to date – yet Messi, criticised by some for a perceived lack of output, is operating at a similar level of effectiveness.

Of course, the difference is that Mbappe is proving far more clinical in those goalscoring opportunities, but don't forget it was only last season that Messi scored 38 times in a fading Barca side. That ability doesn't vanish overnight.

It would be far fairer to judge him next season when he will presumably have a proper pre-season under his belt.

Patience. If anyone should be afforded the benefit of the doubt during a settling-in period, it's Messi.

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.

Kylian Mbappe and Erling Haaland are the natural heirs Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo, so says Gonzalo Higuain.

Both players have been linked with moves to Real Madrid, and Mbappe recently scored a superb solo goal to give Paris Saint-Germain a 1-0 lead over Los Blancos in their Champions League round-of-16 tie.

Madrid had multiple bids for Mbappe turned down in August. The 23-year-old will become a free agent at the end of the season.

Reports had suggested that Mbappe could miss Wednesday's return leg in Spain after suffering a knock in training, but with PSG hoping that he will be fit for the trip, former Madrid forward Higuain claims the forward is one of the two heirs apparent to Messi and Ronaldo.

The Inter Miami forward, who scored 107 goals in 190 LaLiga appearances for Madrid between 2007 and 2013, also believes Mbappe's arrival could take his old club back "to the top" of European football.

"[Mbappe] has all the characteristics," Higuain told Stats Perform.

"I believe that Leo and Cristiano at some point will stop playing, because life is like that, and Mbappe and Haaland will be their successors. 

"Of course, Mbappe has all the characteristics to take Real Madrid to the top."

Mbappe recently moved level with Zlatan Ibrahimovic as the joint-second highest goalscorer in PSG's history, with his tally of 156 goals for the French giants bettered only by Edinson Cavani, who scored 200 goals for the club.

Madrid boss Carlo Ancelotti called Mbappe "unstoppable" after he downed the Spanish giants at the Parc des Princes last month.

PSG sporting director Leonardo, meanwhile, recently referred to Mbappe as the "best player in the world today", hinting the in-demand striker could yet elect to remain in the French capital.

Mbappe was suspended for PSG's 1-0 Ligue 1 loss to Nice last time out, and is the only player in the French top flight to have reached double figures for both goals and assists this season, with his 24 goal contributions (14 goals, 10 assists) helping the Parisians to a 13-point lead at the summit. 

Haaland, meanwhile, is one of the most prolific forwards in European football, and it has been reported that Madrid and Manchester City are leading the chase for the 21-year-old.

Since making his debut for Borussia Dortmund in January 2020, the Norway international has netted 80 times in all competitions, a tally which ranks behind that of only Bayern Munich's Robert Lewandowski (112) in the same timeframe of players in Europe's big five leagues.

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."

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