Lionel Messi made his first start for Paris Saint-Germain in the Group A encounter with Club Brugge but he failed to make a winning return to Champions League action
Former Paris Saint-Germain striker Nicolas Anelka has railed against his old side after their toothless performance against Club Brugge in the Champions League.
Lionel Messi made his first start for PSG in the Group A encounter but only succeeded in picking up a yellow card for a frustrated tackle in the second half.
Attacking colleagues Neymar and Kylian Mbappe did not fare much better, although the latter did pick up the assist for Ander Herrera’s opening goal in the 15th minute.
Hans Vanaken pulled Brugge level shortly before the half-hour mark and the hosts went on to register more shots and more shots on target than PSG.
Anelka had two stints on PSG’s books and he was dismayed by the display of Mauricio Pochettino’s side.
“Brugge were better in terms of intensity, the midfield battle, shots on target, in every area, so congratulations to them,” he told French broadcaster RMC Sport .
“We expected PSG to play well, but it’s the PSG we don’t want to see. Nothing went well. There was no intensity, no tracking back, nothing going forward.”
Anelka, 42, knows what it takes to win the Champions League having triumphed at Stade de France with Real Madrid in the 1999/2000 season.
He insists rapid improvement will be needed for PSG to emerge from their group, let alone be crowned European champions for the first time, declaring: “If they play like that, it’s not going to be possible.”
Pochettino was equally downhearted by PSG’s performance, which leaves them two points behind Manchester City in Group A.
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“Nobody in the team can be happy with their performance and nobody can be happy with this result. We came here to take points. All the points,” said the Argentine manager.
“Hats off to Club Brugge. They wanted it more than us tonight and they deserve the point.
“We didn’t have a good evening. We have to stay calm, keep working and take the time we need. Things will get better.”
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Pochettino was also quizzed on why Messi, Neymar and Mbappe failed to gel and responded by calling for patience with the superstar trio.
“We need time to work for them to build an understanding,” said Pochettino. “That’s been clear and we’ve said that in recent days. We still have to create a team.”
PSG welcome City to the Parc des Princes later this month and in the meantime they can extend their 100 per cent record in Ligue 1 as they host Lyon on Sunday night.