Mauricio Pochettino says it’s a ‘dream come true’ to be appointed manager as he prepares for first game at Saint-Etienne… but Argentine won’t be drawn on Lionel Messi rumours or a reunion with Christian Eriksen
Mauricio Pochettino says he will ’embrace the pressure to win’ at Paris Saint-Germain but swerved questions on Lionel Messi at his unveiling as their new manager.
The former Tottenham Hotspur boss spoke for the first time since his appointment at PSG and ahead of his first match in charge at Saint-Etienne on Wednesday.
Pochettino spent two-and-a-half seasons at PSG as a player and said it was a ‘dream come true’ to return as their manager.
Mauricio Pochettino smiles during his first press conference as Paris Saint-Germain’s new boss
The former Tottenham Hotspur manager was appointed on an 18-month contract last week
‘I will be working with star names and I am very proud to be here. I know what PSG stands for,’ he said.
‘I have also worked with star players in the past. We will do our best to optimise this talent.
‘I know very well what it means to be with PSG. We are expected to win and we want to do that with style.
‘The club has changed a lot but the passion and the love is the same. It is like yesterday that I was playing here.’
But when asked about rumours the club may swoop this summer to bring Barcelona star Messi to Paris, Pochettino insisted: ‘Any great player is welcome in Paris, but honestly, we have not discussed it.’
Mauricio Pochettino waves to the cameras as he arrives for his first day of training on Sunday
Pochettino spent two-and-a-half seasons as a Paris Saint-Germain player during his career
He added: ‘Now is not the time to discuss rumours. We are in constant contact with [sporting director] Leonardo. The reality is complicated, globally, on this subject.’
Pochettino also declined to comment on the chances of a reunion with his former player at Tottenham, Christian Eriksen, who could be on his way out of Inter Milan.
‘This is not the moment to talk about him,’ he said.
PSG lost to Bayern Munich in last season’s Champions League final and they have drawn Barcelona in the last-16 of this year’s competition, with the first leg in Barcelona on February 16 and the return in Paris on March 10.
‘For PSG and many other clubs, the Champions League is the most important competition,’ Pochettino said.
Pochettino wouldn’t be drawn on rumours linking PSG with a move for Barcelona’s Lionel Messi
Nor would he talk about the chances of a reunion with ex-Spurs player Christian Eriksen
‘There are many important competitions. We must build in order to arrive at the Barcelona match in our best shape.’
They have nine matches – including eight in the league – prior to that game and work to do. PSG currently sit third in the table, albeit only a point behind leaders Lyon.
Asked how he would get the best out of Brazilian star Neymar, Pochettino said: ‘We will see what his best position is. We do not like to talk about systems.
‘We want the players to feel good and to be as dynamic as possible.’
Pochettino confirmed that Marquinhos will remain as the team’s captain.
The Argentine took charge of his first training session on Sunday after signing an 18-month contract with an option to extend for another year.