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Pochettino says rumours regarding Messi were no distraction for PSG

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Paris Saint-Germain’s Argentinian head coach Mauricio Pochettino. (Photo by Christof STACHE / AFP)

Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) coach Mauricio Pochettino insisted his players were not distracted by Lionel Messi rumours before Saturday’s hard-fought 2-1 win over Troyes.

PSG commenced their Ligue 1 campaign with the come-from-behind victory after goals from new signing Achraf Hakimi and Mauro Icardi.

The Parisians have been heavily linked with Lionel Messi in recent days after FC Barcelona confirmed his departure but Pochettino insisted that had no impact on his team’s display.

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“No, I don’t think so, the players and the team have been focused,” Pochettino said at the post-game news conference. “They are professionals.

“His name is associated with different clubs, there are plenty of rumours, but the players have remained committed, and they will be until the end of the transfer window.

“We will see what happens in the next few days.”

He added: “We are concentrating on the start of the season and at the same time the club works within the market discreetly, but strongly to try to strengthen the squad where possible to be able to achieve the goals that we set out at the start of the season.

“Clearly we know what happened with this player yesterday, I won’t say otherwise.”

Pochettino admitted it was a “difficult” game for PSG, who are aiming to re-claim the Ligue 1 title after missing out to Lille last season.

“It was a very difficult meeting, we did not start well,” the Argentine said. “We conceded an early goal, we have to do a lot better. We conceded too many chances for my liking.

“There were good and not-so-good periods in the game but overall I’m happy. It was very important to get the three points and start the season in this way.

“We are still at the beginning of the season, still in the process of breaking in. We still hope to win 5-0, but we take this victory as it is.”

PSG return to action on Saturday against Strasbourg.

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