Paris Saint-Germain

Leonardo hits out at critics of PSG & backs Mauricio Pochettino

Tom Gott
Pochettino is under pressure at PSG
Pochettino is under pressure at PSG / Eurasia Sport Images/GettyImages

Paris Saint-Germain director Leonardo has lashed out at critics of his squad and manager Mauricio Pochettino, taking over a post-match press conference to make his voice heard.

PSG snatched a scrappy 2-1 win over Lille on Friday evening, needing two late goals to recover from another woeful first-half performance. They remain clear at the top of Ligue 1, but Pochettino finds himself under immense pressure as a result of just how shaky they have looked this year.

The Parisians have lost just once in Ligue 1, but they've come close to defeat in far too many games and fans have been calling for Pochettino's head to roll as a result.

After this latest win, Leonardo admitted he understands the disappointment with the team's performance but he lashed out at those takings things too far.

"It's the [type of criticism] that bothers me," he said (via Le Parisien)."It's fair to say that we aren't doing great, but you can't go too far. You can't say, for example, that the coach does not understand anything about football, or that the players we signed are useless.

"I'm going to keep my cool, but people want to dress themselves up when talking about PSG. Everyone can criticise, say that they don't like the team, but to self-promote at our expense? N way.

"Even if we do not play as we want, today we have ten wins, one draw and one defeat in a league in which we lead by ten points. In the Champions League, we have seven points with two wins and one draw."

Leonardo then leapt to the defence of Pochettino, although he did admit that PSG are constantly looking at different managers who could improve the team.

"The criticism of the coach is too much," he continued. "You pass him off as someone who doesn't understand anything, who doesn't understand game management.

"It's true that we're looking [at other managers], but everyone's looking. Before arriving, Pochettino was a top-five manager and now he doesn't understand anything? He's looking for the right way to play.

"Everyone needs time. At PSG, it's normal, we are in a hurry. We don't want to wait six years before playing well. With a team like that, we want to win this year, that's for sure. I'm not saying we're going to be successful, but we have all the tools. We have an important coach and a large squad. We'll get through this."

On Lionel Messi's poor form in Paris, Leonardo added: "Messi arrived and spent most of his first two months with the national team than in Paris. When you travel so much, it makes sense that there is muscle discomfort.

"It's the same for Neymar, who played a great match tonight (editor's note: no he did not). It's the same with Angel Di Maria, tonight they were decisive."