Mauricio Pochettino faces a battle to find balance on his Paris Saint-Germain side and Lionel Messi’s position is at the heart of that fight, according to reports in France.
The Ligue 1 giants remain seven points clear at the top of the table after escaping from Le Classique against Marseille on Sunday with a draw following the expulsion of Achraf Hakimi.
But despite their position in the league and their seven-point comeback in three Champions League group stage games this season, including a 2-0 win against Manchester City, L’Equipe claims work is only piling up for the Argentine pattern.
Mauricio Pochettino faces a battle to find balance in his Paris Saint-Germain
The main theme surrounds the position of Lionel Messi, who played on the right for Marseille
They claim that PSG’s progress with the former Tottenham manager after 10 months in the job has been slow, with Pochettino struggling to find a style of play given his offensive efficiency issues combined with worrying defensive fragility.
The report claims that Pochettino’s daring decision to place Messi, Neymar and Angel Di Maria behind Kylian Mbappé in a 4-2-3-1 formation against Rennes, Lyon and Marseille “has revealed failures” at both ends of the field.
The main issue revolves around where Pochettino should play against Lionel Messi, as the latter has operated from the right against Marseille on Sunday.
But the attack formation, which saw Neymar play central in the three behind Mbappé, yielded results “in the best of cases, very contrasting”.
L’Equipe claims the bold decision to play against Messi, Kylian Mbappé (left), Neymar (center) and Angel Di María (not pictured) has revealed flaws
This is because while playing on the right allows Messi to cut off his left foot and develop his ‘natural’ relationship with Mbappé, the report claims the former Barcelona star is ineffective due to the lack of space he is given. .
They suggest that a 4-3-3 could be a solution to the problem following their success in the system against City, with PSG looking more consistent, at least on defense, while Mbappé and Messi teamed up for the first goal of the latter for the club.
But they insist that would lead to Di Maria falling to the bench and the issue of Messi’s position is not guaranteed to be resolved.
Rather, the report claims that Messi’s most effective position would be behind Mbappé to allow the former to be ‘at the center of it all’, closing the physical gap between the duo and somehow hiding Messi’s lack of follow-through.
They recommend moving Messi more central to help develop his ‘natural’ association with Mbappé
They also claim that since Messi’s arrival, PSG no longer attack through their wings, without Hakimi, who recorded 10 assists last season with Inter Milan, nor left-back Nuno Mendes providing a center for his teammates. against Marseille.
The Portuguese is also struggling defensively, adding to the pressure on Idrissa Gueye in central midfield.
But the main point of concern has to do with Messi, who Thierry Henry believes is too ‘isolated’ at PSG and that they should do more to get the best out of the Argentine.
The six-time Ballon d’Or has scored three goals in the Champions League, but has yet to open his Ligue 1 account in four national starts.
‘He [Messi] He’s isolated, he’s less on the ball, ” Henry said. RMC Sport. I wouldn’t say he’s sad, but he’s isolated. I prefer it in the middle.
A 4-3-3 formation is another alternative, but that would likely make Di Maria (right) miss out.
I’m having trouble with Leo on the right. In the middle, you can set the tempo.
“I don’t think I can make a difference from the right, but I don’t have the exact details from a tactical point of view either,” added the former Arsenal star.
‘Obviously, when you stay high and get out of the way, you will have no impact. So you have fewer balls going to him.
“Messi doesn’t talk much, he talks to the ball,” he continued.
For now, it’s Kylian’s team. Kylian is the one who makes it shine the most. The ball goes more towards him.
“There can only be one conductor at any time, otherwise you can’t play at the same tempo. And there are too many drivers on this team. ‘
Messi’s involvement has seen players like Achraf Hakimi (forward) attack less from the side