Mauricio Pochettino’s career at Paris St Germaine is hanging in the balance after the French side were thumped by AS Monaco 3-0, days after Real Madrid knocked them out of the Champions League.
PSG leads Ligue 1 by 12 points, but the Argentinian, who took the reins at the end of last season, has been criticised for the team’s lacklustre showing and was expected to take them further in Europe.
The win marked Monaco’s fourth consecutive victory in Ligue 1 games against the Paris juggernaut.
Despite struggling through the season Monaco came out of the blocks firing on all cylinders at Stade Louis II on Sunday, and had a great chance which fell to their defensive midfielder Jean Lucas who’s shot missed the target by a wide margin.
Monaco took the lead in the 35th minute through their captain Wissam Ben Yedder when he flicked the ball past PSG’s towering Italian goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma. It took Ben Yedder’s goal tally for the season to 16 in Ligue 1.
PSG were missing their big-name stars, with Lionel Messi being the notable absence because of flu-like symptoms that had affected him for a couple of days, Angel Di-Maria, Keylon Navas and Sergio Ramos. Monaco was missing Cesc Fabregas due to an ankle injury and Krepin Diatta with an ACL tear.
During the second half Monaco was put on the back foot but defended well and counter-attacked PSG at every ball turn over. Monaco’s Kevin Volland took the opportunity to extend the home team’s lead in the 68th minute ending his eight games goal drought.
PSG striker Kylian Mbappe said after the match he was disappointed in the result and offered a challenge to himself and his teammates by way of “having respect for the club”.
Mbappe said: “We played and lost to a good team… they deserved the victory today.
“We have to stay professional; we have to respect ourselves and we have to respect the supporters who support us.”
Some pundits questioned the former Spurs manager Pochettino’s man management, tactics and strategies before and during the game, with one saying that “the buck has to stop somewhere”.
PSG’s French defender Presnel Kimpembe fouled Volland in the box, with Ben Yedder’s shot being deflected by Donnarumma but hitting the left post and going in.
Ben Yedder bemoaned his team’s lack of consistency in an interview after the match but said the win against an opponent “who’s so strong” can help the team regain its confidence and put together a good run of games to climb up the table.
Ben Yedder said: “I think it’s a good sign that shows us that here we [are].
“Now we’re going to stay strong and this effort [pushes us] over several matches and strings together several matches that’s what’s [been] lacking for us.”
At the press conference Pochettino urged his team to put behind them the Champions League loss to Madrid and focus on finishing the league strongly, however pressure is mounting on him after this heavy loss to their fiercest rival.
Pochettino said: “We have to get it out of our minds, the frustration of the elimination [out] of [the] Champions League.
“We need to generate a competitive spirit in which we owe our commitment to our club and finish in the best way. That is the goal that lies ahead us.”
Main image screenshot courtesy BT Sport.