If he says he “was not surprised by Brugge”, a team in which he saw “many quality players”, Mauricio Pochettino admitted that his team had not put all the necessary ingredients to s’ attach a first success in the Champions League, Wednesday evening after the unexpected draw (1-1) conceded against the champion of Belgium.
How do you explain that Brugge dominated the match?
MAURICIO POCHETTINO. I don’t think Brugge dominated the game. We had possession. There are certainly aspects of the game in which they have been better. But we started the game well, we scored… We gave them the opportunity to believe in conceding this goal that we should not concede. We have to work to improve.
Doesn’t the number of stars you have doom you to face over-motivated opponents like Brugge in every match?
It is clear that the motivation of our opponent in the Champions League is still there, at its maximum. But that shouldn’t be a problem for us, we have to be able to get over it.
Isn’t your biggest problem as a coach figuring out how to get your three forwards defended?
I don’t think the problem is the work of the three offensive players. The problem is, we weren’t strong enough for a Champions League game. We need to be stronger in all areas of the game. Combinations and affinities are not only created during training. They need to compete together to understand each other.
Why did you change two-thirds of your midfield at the break?
First because Paredes took a yellow on a dangerous action. I didn’t want to take any chances with it. As for Wijnaldum, he returned from the Dutch selection with an ankle problem that prevented him from being at the expected level. We brought in Danilo and Julian (Draxler) to give more energy and better ball circulation. We found her at times.
How did you find Leo Messi?
I am happy with his behavior, his will, his attitude and his adaptation. It is certain that today, all the players are not happy, they have to do a lot better.
Do you think your team is ready for this kind of fight?
I have already said, we have a magnificent squad of players. We have to find the organization that will allow us to combine defensive strength and offensive creativity. But for that, we need time.
Did you choose continuity by establishing Keylor Navas? Is this choice scalable?
In football, anything is possible. Decisions will be made game after game.