Neymar merely needs to find his rhythm to rediscover his best form, so says Mauricio Pochettino.

Brazil star Neymar has endured another injury hit campaign for Paris Saint-Germain, with the 30-year-old having made just 22 appearances across all competitions.

That is 16 fewer than Kylian Mbappe, who has arguably outshone the former Barcelona forward since they both arrived in Paris in 2017.

Neymar served up a reminder of his qualities with two fine goals in PSG's 5-1 thrashing of Lorient last time out, though it was again Mbappe who stole the show with a pair of superb strikes and three assists, with the final star of Pochettino's attacking trio, Lionel Messi, also netting.

It was not for a lack of trying from a creative standpoint for Neymar, though, as he led the way for key passes (five) and had as many shots on target (three) as Mbappe, while his double took him to within one goal of his 200th in European football since he joined Barca from Santos in 2013.

Neymar's 12 direct goal contributions this season pales in comparison to Mbappe (45), though Pochettino is confident that his fellow South American will be able to return to his peak form sooner rather than later.

"PSG signed Neymar because of his quality, and it has been there for all to see," Pochettino told a news conference ahead of Saturday's trip to Clermont.

"He has had runs of injuries, there are ups and downs. Neymar suffered an injury soon after [I] arrived [at PSG].

 

"We have worked hard to get him back and like every attacker he needs rhythm, he needs to play to feel confident.

"I have no doubt that Neymar will keep showing his quality. He will be aiming for more."

Another of PSG's Brazil regulars to have struggled for his best form in recent weeks, albeit at the other end of the pitch, has been Marquinhos.

The centre-back has been a consistent performer during his time in the French capital yet had a horror show along with the rest of PSG's defence in the capitulation to Real Madrid in the Champions League on March 9.

Marquinhos has only made one error that led to a shot this season, yet it came against PSG and resulted in Karim Benzema scoring in that famous comeback win for Los Blancos.

He has made 33 starts this season, tallying up 2,952 minutes and helping PSG to 12 clean sheets, though he was unusually sloppy against Lorient.

With Marquinhos and his partner having welcomed a child this week, and the 27-year-old dealing with minor injury issues, Pochettino has elected to rest him.

"Everyone has been affected by the game in Madrid and getting knocked out of the Champions League," Pochettino said.

"If we analysed all of that game, we were better than Madrid but in the end it didn't go our way. Marquinhos will not be involved in the Clermont game. He’s had a few injuries and we have decided to give him a rest.

"Every player goes through different stages throughout the season, but the Marquinhos is a consistent player. He has very high standards, he is our captain and a top player.

Marquinhos' absence may mean that Sergio Ramos comes into the side.

"That is something I am thinking about now Marquinhos is unavailable," Pochettino said.

Kylian Mbappe and Neymar both scored twice and Lionel Messi ended a barren spell as Ligue 1 leaders Paris Saint-Germain crushed Lorient 5-1 on Sunday.

Mauricio Pochettino's side were overwhelmed in a 3-0 loss to Monaco before the international break, but they were soon ahead at the Parc des Princes when Neymar scored after 12 minutes.

Mbappe added a second 16 minutes later, and although Terem Moffi pulled one back after the interval, PSG's star France forward restored his side's two-goal advantage with 23 minutes remaining.

Messi halted his seven-game scoring drought before Neymar collected his second of the night, with Mbappe playing a part in all five of the hosts' goals as PSG maintained their 12-point lead over second-placed Marseille.

 

Danilo Pereira headed over from Neymar's corner in the opening exchanges, and PSG took the lead shortly after.

Intricate play between Messi and Mbappe allowed the latter to find Neymar to apply the finish into the bottom-left corner.

Messi volleyed an ambitious first-time effort over, before Mbappe brilliantly wrong-footed the unsighted Matthieu Dreyer after Idrissa Gueye's offload to double PSG's lead.

Enzo Le Fee curled narrowly wide after the break as Christophe Pelissier's visitors appeared reinvigorated, and their reward arrived when Moffi poked a wayward Achraf Hakimi pass past Gianluigi Donnarumma.

But Mbappe curtailed Lorient's hopes of a comeback when he expertly drilled into the bottom-left corner from outside the area following Hakimi's offload.

Mbappe turned creator six minutes later when he cut the ball back for Messi from the byline, and the Argentina star finished off the underside of the crossbar..

Neymar grabbed his second in the closing stages as Mbappe fed the Brazil international, who slotted past Dreyer to cap a fine victory.

Fabien Barthez does not believe Paris Saint-Germain are getting the best out of their team by alternating between goalkeepers Gianluigi Donnarumma and Keylor Navas.

Donnarumma signed for PSG in the off-season, as one of four remarkable free signings alongside Lionel Messi, Georginio Wijnaldum and Sergio Ramos.

It is fair to say that none of those additions have been rip-roaring successes. Messi has failed to replicate his Barcelona form and scored only seven times across all competitions, albeit that does make him PSG's second-highest goalscorer so far this season, behind Kylian Mbappe (26).

While Messi has at least provided 10 assists, Wijnaldum has only directly contributed to six goals in all competitions (three goals, three assists), creating just 11 chances for his team-mates. Due to persistent injury concerns, Ramos has made just five appearances in total, playing 284 minutes.

Donnarumma, meanwhile, has had to vie with Navas for a place as PSG's first-choice goalkeeper.

The Euro 2020-winning shot-stopper did not make his Ligue 1 debut until September 11, and has started on just 12 occasions in France's top flight, having been a substitute in another 12 league games.

Two further appearances have come for Donnarumma in the Coupe de France, but the latter game saw PSG eliminated on penalties by Nice. The 23-year-old has played in five Champions League matches, but was culpable for Karim Benzema's first goal on March 9 as Mauricio Pochettino's team capitulated against Real Madrid in the last 16.

In the opinion of Barthez, who played a pivotal role in France's 1998 World Cup triumph, having two top-quality goalkeepers at the club is actually backfiring on PSG.

"I respect coaches a lot, I respect Pochettino a lot and I know how difficult this job is, but putting two goalkeepers of this level in competition [with each other] does not serve the team," he told L'Equipe.

"What message are you sending to your goalkeepers? What psychological dispositions do you place them in? Who do you really trust for big games? What do outfield players say to each other?

"You instil doubt in everyone and then, it's the competition that makes you progress, not the training. A guy like Donnarumma - or Navas for that matter - he has to play. What happened [against Madrid] is the consequence of all that."

Donnarumma has made 61 saves, 10 fewer than Navas' 71, across 19 games in all competitions, although the Italy international has registered a better save percentage compared to his Costa Rican counterpart (78.2 in contrast to 76.9).

When taking goals prevented into account, based on Opta's expected goals on target conceded (xGOT) model, Donnarumma also has a clear edge, having prevented a total of 4.8 goals in comparison to Navas' figure of 2.8.

Essentially, Donnarumma's saves have prevented a further two goals than those of Navas, and Barthez has backed the former Milan goalkeeper to improve.

However, he believes Donnarumma "lacked humility" when he made the mistake that allowed Benzema to kick-start a comeback that dashed PSG's Champions League hopes at the Bernabeu.

"I adore him, I have observed his performances for a long time. But on this one, he also lacked humility," Barthez added. 

"But, in a way, what happened to him makes sense. He wins the Euro, he is full of confidence, he arrives in Paris and we put him in competition with Navas."

Gary Neville believes Manchester United will make an announcement on a new manager in a "week or so" following reports the club has met with Ajax boss Erik ten Hag.

The Red Devils have been looking for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's permanent successor since appointing Ralf Rangnick in charge on an interim basis back in November.

Dutchman Ten Hag has been frequently linked to the post, alongside Paris Saint-Germain boss Mauricio Pochettino.

Now, Neville anticipates that the club could be closing in on their preferred candidate.

"Reports [suggest] Ten Hag has been interviewed this week," the former United defender wrote on Twitter.

"If formal interviews have started and with it being such a public process I would expect a new manager announcement within a week or so."

United are hiring their third permanent manager in the space of six years, following Jose Mourinho and Solskjaer's tenures in the top job.

Since taking the reins, Rangnick has won nine of his 20 games in charge at Old Trafford, but has been unable to prevent the club from going another season empty handed.

Ajax boss Ten Hag meanwhile is on course to lead the Eredivisie outfit to a third successive league title (the 2019-20 season was voided due to the coronavirus pandemic). They have just three top-flight losses this season and lead PSV by two points in the table.

Argentine forward Paulo Dybala is set to exit Juventus at the end of this season.

As a result, the Bianconeri are assessing their options for a replacement.

Juventus are currently fourth in Serie A after an excellent run of results which have put them into the title picture.

TOP STORY – ZANIOLO FRAMED AS DYBALA REPLACEMENT 

TuttoMercato claims Juventus have set their sights on Nicolo Zaniolo as Dybala's replacement, with the Roma attacker unlikely to renew with the Giallorossi before his contract expires in 2024.

The first domino in this instance is Dybala, whose contract expires at the end of this season. Juventus have no intention of extending according to Fabrizio Romano. Romano claims the 28-year-old will not move another club in Serie A, opening up a move to long-time suitor Tottenham.

According to TuttoMercato, Juve have chosen Zaniolo as their replacement and would be ready to make a move in the upcoming transfer window. Whether they can manoeuvre to match his current market value of €40million remains to be seen, however.

ROUND-UP

- Per Sky Sports, Manchester United have narrowed their shortlist for a permanent manager down to Ajax's Erik ten Hag, Sevilla's Julen Lopetegui, Spain boss Luis Enrique and Paris Saint-Germain's Mauricio Pochettino .

- Inter have targeted Edinson Cavani as a replacement for Alexis Sanchez, according to La Gazzetta dello Sport.

- Calciomercato reports Arsenal will make a move for Arthur in the upcoming transfer window, as contract negotiations with Juventus have broken down.

- Arsenal are also keen to tie Bukayo Saka to a long-term contract, in attempts to fend off outside interest for the 20-year-old, per The Athletic.

Paris Saint-Germain captain Marquinhos and coach Mauricio Pochettino both slammed the performance of the Ligue 1 leaders in Sunday's defeat to Monaco.

The 3-0 loss, in which Wissam Ben Yedder scored a double either side of Kevin Volland's goal, is the heaviest defeat PSG have suffered in Ligue 1 since a 5-1 loss at Lille in April 2019.

PSG have now lost three of their last five games in Ligue 1, as many as they did from their previous 36 matches (27 wins and six draws).

It also represented PSG's heaviest loss to Monaco since September 1999, when the principality club defeated them by the same scoreline in Paris, and Marquinhos did not hold back in his criticism of the display.

"It's hard to digest. It's our worst game of the year," he told reporters.

"We came here to have fun and win a game. We are in a difficult moment. 

"You can't just throw it all away. We all have to work together to get out of this moment."

Marquinhos stopped short of suggesting that PSG's recent Champions League elimination at Real Madrid has led the team to drop off, but claimed they could still lose their 13-point Ligue 1 lead without major improvements.

"It is not a relaxation," he added. "There were a lot of expectations [against Real Madrid]. It's a defeat that hurts us. 

"Now we have goals to look for. We have to do our best, with the right mentality. 

"If we continue to perform like that, it is sure that the title is in danger. The alert is there. We will have to come back [from the international break] with a good state of mind."

PSG boss Pochettino has now lost eight of his first 50 league games in the Parisian dugout, the same amount that his predecessor Thomas Tuchel suffered in his first half-century of matches.

Pochettino repeated Marquinhos's criticism of the performance after the match, calling his team's display "unacceptable".

"It is inadmissible to start this way," Pochettino said of PSG's dire first-half showing. "Afterwards, there is sporting shame. 

"Now we have to move on, get over the frustration of the Champions League and think about giving our best, and have a competitive spirit.

"This is unacceptable. This first half is unacceptable. We didn't have a fighting spirit, the way we played is not acceptable.

"This cannot happen, we can have [bad] performances, but this type of attitude is not possible. It's unacceptable to start the match this way. Respect for the club, [and for] our supporters, is essential."

Kylian Mbappe stated his Paris Saint-Germain team-mates must "respect" themselves after an insipid performance in the 3-0 defeat at Monaco on Sunday.

Mbappe's former club dominated the first half at Stade Louis II, before expertly picking PSG off on the counter-attack in the second.

Goals from Wissam Ben Yedder (two) and Kevin Volland sealed the win, with an exasperated Mbappe seen removing his shirt and under-shirt after Monaco took a 25th-minute lead.

This made it four away defeats in a row in all competitions for Mauricio Pochettino's men, including the recent humiliation in the Champions League when the Parisians threw away a two-goal aggregate lead over Real Madrid thanks to a second-half Karim Benzema hat-trick at the Santiago Bernabeu.

PSG remain comfortably clear at the top of Ligue 1 despite losing their last three league away games, but speaking to Amazon Prime Video after the defeat, the World Cup winner said: "The objective is to seek the 10th French title. 

"We can win 8-0 or 9-0 and people will still think of the Champions League. The rest I don't think matters much to people. 

"But we must remain professional, we must respect the supporters who support us, the people, our families. We are going to get this 10th title."

Mbappe – who is now second in the Ligue 1 goalscoring charts for this season (15) after Ben Yedder moved on to 17 with his two strikes – was asked if this was a message for his team-mates.

"You have to respect yourself already, it's important," he reiterated.

"You must have, as a minimum, esteem for what we do, for what we want to be, for what we aspire to be - we have to respect each other. It was a game without [that]."

PSG will next be in action after the international break when they welcome Lorient to the Parc des Princes.

Paris Saint-Germain lost their fourth straight away game in all competitions as they fell 3-0 to Monaco at Stade Louis II on Sunday.

Two goals from Wissam Ben Yedder and another from Kevin Volland were enough to seal victory for Philippe Clement's side in a game in which PSG were second best for large periods.

Mauricio Pochettino was without Lionel Messi (flu) and so started Georginio Wijnaldum on the right of the front three alongside Kylian Mbappe and Neymar.

It was a deserved win for the Monegasques, who responded perfectly to going out of the Europa League in midweek, while PSG remain 15 points clear at the top of the table.

The hosts made a strong start, and took a deserved lead on 25 minutes when Youssouf Fofana's low cross from the right found Ben Yedder, who arrived ahead of Presnel Kimpembe to flick the ball high into Gianluigi Donnarumma's net at the near post.

The Parisians started the second half brighter and Mbappe had a good chance to equalise after a mistake from Axel Disasi, but the France international was denied as he tried to round Alexander Nubel.

Clement somewhat surprisingly subbed off the dangerous-looking Gelson Martins for Volland on the hour, but the German striker justified that decision when he slid in Monaco's second after good work from Ben Yedder and Ruben Aguilar down the right.

The game was done and dusted with six minutes left when Ben Yedder won the ball from Marco Verratti before feeding Volland, who was brought down by Kimpembe in the box.

That allowed Ben Yedder to fortuitously score his second of the game as Donnarumma somehow pushed the ball into the far corner of the net after guessing the right way.

Mauricio Pochettino is refusing to look beyond the end of Paris Saint-Germain's season as his future at the club hangs in the balance.

The PSG head coach saw his team throw away a 2-0 aggregate lead in the final half-hour of their Champions League last-16 clash with Real Madrid.

That shock slump from a dominant position has cast doubt on whether Pochettino should be the man to lead another bid for the trophy the club's Qatari owners crave above all others.

Pochettino remains haunted by the 3-2 aggregate defeat, saying on Saturday it would be "difficult to get that calmness to sleep again and get it out of our heads".

The former Tottenham boss is reportedly being considered as a candidate for the Manchester United job, which is due to become vacant when interim boss Ralf Rangnick makes way at the end of the season.

But for now, Pochettino says he is focused on delivering a 10th Ligue 1 title for the Parisians. That is practically a fait accompli, given they headed into this weekend with a 15-point lead over nearest rivals Marseille and Nice.

Pochettino told a news conference, ahead of Sunday's game at Monaco: "It's not easy to forget what happened in the Champions League, but I think we need to move on and need to win every single game.

"Of course, there's a feeling of sadness about the situation, based on what we experienced. The first disappointment is for the players and for all of us, fans included.

"There are many things that come into play, but we can use it as a source of motivation going forward. You cannot stop in football.

"You have to keep competing, you have to achieve the targets that are still available and treat them as a priority. We have to clinch the club's 10th Ligue 1 title, that is our main target."

Pochettino, whose contract runs to the end of next season, added: "As for the future, I am just thinking about today and tomorrow, I am not thinking about the long term.

"We have a responsibility to finish this season as well as we can. We will see what decisions the club takes at the end of the season, and what way the club wants to project into the future."

Pochettino knows the Champions League is PSG's ultimate target. PSG's owners, Qatar Sports Investments, have hired a string of top coaches in their bid to realise that ambition, with Pochettino following Thomas Tuchel, Unai Emery, Laurent Blanc and Carlo Ancelotti into the role of head coach.

It would come as little surprise if they move for another leading boss at the end of the current campaign.

"Our intention is to create competitive teams to be able to win. We analyse things at the end of the season," Pochettino said.

"We will see which decisions are made to try to recreate that excitement and motivation to have the competitive team that we need to compete for the biggest honours in the world. Which in this case is the Champions League, which is what everyone at Paris Saint-Germain wants."

Lionel Messi's stop-start Paris Saint-Germain career has stalled again, with the superstar forward ruled out of Sunday's game at Monaco by illness.

The Argentinian was absent from training on Saturday due to flu, and PSG have confirmed he is out of their plans for the fixture.

PSG came into the weekend with a 15-point lead over nearest rivals Marseille and Nice at the top of Ligue 1, meaning Messi remains on course to land a major trophy in his first season at the Parc des Princes.

However, the former Barcelona captain, who scored a record 672 goals for the Catalan giants, has struggled to make the impact he would have wanted in the French capital.

To date, he has only two Ligue 1 goals from 18 appearances, although he has managed 10 assists and hit the woodwork eight times in the competition. Injuries and illness have hampered Messi's progress, and now PSG will hope his latest absence is a short one.

Without Messi, PSG still have a substantial attacking threat. Kylian Mbappe, who began his career at Monaco, has scored nine goals in eight games against his former employer in Ligue 1, netting more only against Dijon (11).

Indeed, Mbappe has scored PSG's last five goals against Monaco in the competition.

Head coach Mauricio Pochettino is set to take charge of his 50th game as a coach in Ligue 1. He averages 2.29 points per game in the French top flight.

Only his two predecessors at PSG, Unai Emery and Thomas Tuchel, have a better have a better points-per-game record in the history of the league (based on a win being worth three points) – both with 2.37 points per game.

Mauricio Pochettino said he was "sad" to hear boos and whistles from Paris Saint-Germain supporters during Sunday's 3-0 win against Bordeaux, but assured them that he and his players "share this disappointment."

The runaway Ligue 1 leaders were made to work for victory against the bottom side, but goals from Kylian Mbappe, Neymar and Leandro Paredes were enough to secure the three points.

However, the home crowd made their feelings known after Wednesday's chastening defeat in the Champions League round of 16 to Real Madrid, appearing to reserve their loudest boos and whistles for Neymar and Lionel Messi.

Speaking at a media conference after the game, Pochettino said regarding the fans' jeering: "Nobody likes this background, it made me sad. Everyone who loves PSG after the Madrid disappointment is sad. I am saddened by what I experienced here today.

"We have all been affected. We understand the disappointment and frustration. We all experience this together, as a team. We have a responsibility to take responsibility for what happened. We share this disappointment of the supporters."

The former Tottenham manager also addressed the fact he started Keylor Navas rather than Gianluigi Donnarumma in goal against Bordeaux, with the Italian goalkeeper coming in for criticism for his error that led to Madrid's first goal at the Santiago Bernabeu in the 3-1 defeat.

"It's not a goalkeeper's error but an arbitral error [Donnarumma's mistake in Madrid]. Donnarumma is fine, we chose Keylor today. Gigio and Keylor are both disappointed. It is the results that decide the choice and not an error."

Presnel Kimpembe also sympathised with frustrations from the home fans after Wednesday's capitulation, telling Amazon Prime Video: “Inevitably, we hear [the boos and whistles] anyway, even if we are focused, concentrated in our match. 

"We understand their disappointment, we understand their hatred and their cries. Now we are professional, we must know how to remain so too. It is now that we must raise our heads and be able to move forward in order to be able to win this league."

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.

Mauricio Pochettino slammed the officials and asked why VAR was not used to rule out Real Madrid's first goal as Paris Saint-Germain were dumped out of the Champions League in sensational circumstances on Wednesday.

The Ligue 1 leaders looked set for the last eight after Kylian Mbappe had put them 2-0 up on aggregate with a cool finish in the first half.

Madrid, and Karim Benzema in particular, had other ideas, though.

The France international scored a breathtaking hat-trick – the second and third of which came inside the space of just 106 seconds – to book Los Blancos' quarter-final berth.

PSG have now been eliminated from four of their nine Champions League knockout ties when winning the first leg, with only Madrid having done so more often in the competition's history (six times).

Pochettino will be under intense pressure after the defeat, but the former Tottenham boss believes the result only came about due to the officials' decision not to penalise Benzema for a foul on goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma during the build-up to the first goal.

"What a shame, there is a foul on Donnarumma for the first goal," he told Canal+. "It is not possible to not talk about this gross mistake. It is not possible for this to happen in 2022.

"Real Madrid's first goal changed the game. I wonder what the VAR does because there is a foul. It's a shame. When you see the action, it's a foul. 

"After that, the match changed. For 60 minutes we dominated and that goal changed everything.

"It's not easy to explain the defeat. After the goal, the nervousness and the feeling of injustice hurt us a lot. The little details mark these games. We felt the impact of the equalising goal."

With a 13-point lead at the Ligue 1 summit, PSG look likely to reclaim the domestic title, but Pochettino concedes the final months of the campaign could be challenging given they are no longer in European football's premier competition. 

"The rest of the season is going to be very difficult," he added. "The Champions League has been PSG's goal for years, everyone knows it. Te fans are going to be upset, we know it.

"At a time like this, we will still have to analyse and remember the good things we have achieved against this excellent Madrid team. But what happened tonight is not normal."

PSG return to domestic action on Sunday when they host Bordeaux. 

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