Deprived of Neymar, PSG look to Pochettino to take down old foe Barcelona
Paris Saint-Germain knew what they were doing when they appointed Mauricio Pochettino as coach a little over six weeks before renewing their rivalry with Barcelona in the Champions League last 16.
Tuesday’s game at the Camp Nou will be the ninth between the sides in the competition in eight years. History is on Barcelona’s side, and in the era of the super club, going out in the first knockout round of Europe’s elite competition is potentially disastrous.
PSG’s exit at the hands of Barcelona at this stage in 2017 was certainly that, with an astonishing 6-1 second-leg demolition wiping out a 4-0 first-leg advantage.
But the Qatar-owned club responded to that humiliation in stunning fashion, by buying the architect of their downfall, paying Neymar’s release clause for a world record fee of 222 million euros ($264m at the time) in a move that caused consternation in the Catalan capital.
PSG’s hopes of gaining revenge over Barcelona on the pitch this time have been hit by the injury to Neymar which rules the Brazilian out of the trip to his old home, and could rule him out of the second leg on March 10 too.
However, the hope is that Pochettino can get the better of his old foes.
When it came to changing coach midway through this season, Pochettino was a natural choice to replace the sacked Thomas Tuchel in many respects.
He is a former PSG captain, and was a free agent having previously done an excellent job at Tottenham Hotspur…..read more