Pochettino Defends Controversial Messi Substitution Against Lyon

The Argentine superstar looked far from happy when he was brought off the pitch with 15 minutes still to play.

Mauricio Pochettino has defended himself after raising eyebrows when he chose to substitute Lionel Messi during his side’s clash with Lyon on Sunday, with the Paris Saint-Germain boss saying "managers are there to make decisions".

Messi, who was making his home debut, looked frustrated when he was hauled off after 75 minutes having failed to score. He appeared to say something to Pochettino as he made his way to the bench.

The game was level at 1-1 at that stage, but Mauro Icardi popped up with a last-minute winner to earn PSG all three points.

What did Pochettino say about Messi?

Despite the dramatic nature of the victory, a lot of the focus after the game fell on Pochettino’s decision to take off Messi when his side still needed a goal to win the game.

The 34-year-old has yet to score for his new club, though he went close in the first half when his 25-yard free kick smacked the angle of post and bar with the goalkeeper beaten.

Asked why he decided to substitute his compatriot, Pochettino said: "Everyone knows we have great players on the team.

"We have a very rich squad of 35 players. Then we have to make choices.  With the 11 who must start. And then we have to make decisions during the game.

“Sometimes these choices pay off and sometimes they don't. But that's why we're standing in front of the bench thinking about what to do. And those decisions that you have to make, whether things go well or not. Whether you like it or not."