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Lionel Messi took off as ‘precaution’ in PSG’s win over Lille, says Mauricio Pochettino

Lionel Messi was withdrawn at halftime in PSG’s comeback win against Lille as a ‘precaution’, insists coach Mauricio Pochettino, as the superstar’s problems in Ligue 1 continue after he failed to make an impact.


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Lionel Messi was withdrawn at half-time in Paris Saint-Germain’s clash against Lille yesterday as a ‘precaution’, coach Mauricio Pochettino revealed.

The superstar visibly struggled during the first half and failed to make an impact, but his substitution during the break led fans to vent their confusion.

PSG mounted a magnificent late comeback after falling behind with Messi on the field, with Marquinhos equalizing and Angel di Maria scoring with just two minutes remaining.

Lionel Messi was withdrawn as a 'precaution' in PSG's victory over Lille, insists Mauricio Pochettino

Lionel Messi was withdrawn as a ‘precaution’ in PSG’s victory over Lille, insists Mauricio Pochettino

When asked about his decision to remove the former Barcelona player, Pochettino told Amazon Prime: ‘We have to wait. We spoke to the doctor. It is a precaution.

He couldn’t go on, but it’s not a big deal. It will be available for the next game. ‘

Reigning Ligue 1 champion Lille took a well-deserved lead through Jonathan David, while Messi, lined up as a false nine, and his teammates had no teeth in attack.

Boss Pochettino has also downplayed fears that the setback is long-term, with Messi still available.

Boss Pochettino has also downplayed fears that the setback is long-term, with Messi still available.

Boss Pochettino has also downplayed fears that the setback is long-term, with Messi still available.

Messi struggled to make an impact during his first-half cameo, and was retired at halftime.

Messi struggled to make an impact during his first-half cameo, and was retired at halftime.

Messi struggled to make an impact during his first-half cameo, and was retired at halftime.

There were concerns about whether the six-time Ballon d’Or winner would have been able to participate, after missing PSG’s training session on Thursday.

However, Pochettino deemed him fit enough to play, a decision that seems to have backfired. Throughout his cameo, Messi was seen feeling the back of his leg.

It is currently unclear if he will be in action against RB Leipzig in the Champions League next week, although his coach is optimistic about his chances.

All eyes have been on Messi since he left his childhood club Barcelona to join PSG in a dramatic summer move, but he hasn’t been able to get started.

His target on Friday night saw him condemned to a fifth consecutive league game without a goal

His target on Friday night saw him condemned to a fifth consecutive league game without a goal

His target on Friday night saw him condemned to a fifth consecutive league game without a goal

His target against Lille sentenced him to a fifth straight league game without a goal, and his only goals for his new club so far have come in Europe.

But their irregular form has not derailed their team’s attempt to regain the top flight title, and yesterday’s late victory saw them open a 10-point gap at the top.

Mauro Icardi was hired in place of the injured Messi, and Pochettino was also questioned whether he believed the change was better suited to his team.

“I don’t think that was the problem in the first half,” added the coach. “It’s just that Lille knows us well.

Marquinhos crashed into the roof of the net at the far post to boost PSG's good comeback

Marquinhos crashed into the roof of the net at the far post to boost PSG's good comeback

Marquinhos crashed into the roof of the net at the far post to boost PSG’s good comeback

Angel di Maria (left) scored the winner, ensuring the hosts now have a 10-point lead at the top

Angel di Maria (left) scored the winner, ensuring the hosts now have a 10-point lead at the top

Angel di Maria (left) scored the winner, ensuring the hosts now have a 10-point lead at the top

“We weren’t good enough to feed our offensive players and be in control of the game. But I don’t think it’s a single player or a position that changes everything.

Overall, I think we deserved to win. It is an option to play, to find different ways to play. We can adapt to this system. But it is good to be flexible.

‘Sometimes the exit plan doesn’t work out and I’m happy to have that option for players with different characteristics. But we have to keep working on that. ‘

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