Paris-Saint Germain head coach Mauricio Pochettino defended his decision to take off Lionel Messi following a mixed home debut by the former Barcelona star in Sunday’s Ligue 1 game against Lyon.
Messi was outstanding in the first half at the Parc des Princes but began to fade after the break, and Hakimi replaced him for the final quarter-of-an-hour with the score at 1-1.
Stoppage-time header courtesy of substitute Mauro Icardi sealed a 2-1 comeback win for PSG.
“Everyone knows we have great players, a squad of 35. It is my decision. We can only have 11 players on the field at one time,” Pochettino said.
“I only think about the best decision in each game, for each player, just as every coach does.
“We are here to make decisions. Sometimes people will be happy with them, other times they won’t be.”
Pochettino dismissed any suggestion that Messi was unhappy, saying: “I asked him how he was, and he said he was fine.”
By Brian Ayatta