‘Only 11 can play, we can’t play more’
Paris St Germain manager Mauricio Pochettino has defended his decision to substitute forward Lionel Messi in Sunday's 2-1 win over Olympique Lyonnais in the French Ligue 1 and said the Argentine was okay with being taken off.
Messi outshone his team-mates in PSG's all-star attack for much of the game at the Parc des Princes but he had been -- slightly controversially -- taken off by the time substitute Icardi headed in a cross from the left to secure the win.
Three games into his Paris career Messi is still looking for his first goal, but he was unfortunate not to find the net in the first half when everything PSG did went through the six-time Ballon d'Or winner.
Neymar, Kylian Mbappe and Angel di Maria were all on the field too but -- unfortunately for such a superstar attack -- there is only one ball and it seemed to be drawn to Messi's feet.
He was set up by Mbappe for a shot that was saved by Anthony Lopes in the 17th minute. Then he combined with Neymar for another effort that was turned behind, and soon after the Argentine cracked a free-kick from almost 30 metres off the junction of bar and post.
The 34-year-old former Barcelona player looked puzzled when he was replaced with fullback Achraf Hakimi and exchanged words with Pochettino as he walked off the pitch.
"I think we all know we have great players in this 35-man squad. Only 11 can play, we can't play more. The decisions in the game are made for the good of the team and each player," Pochettino told reporters.
"Every coach thinks about that. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't. Sometimes players like it and sometimes they don't. At the end of the day, that's why we're here.
"These are decisions that have to be made by the coach. As for his reaction, I asked him how he was, he said he was okay. That was it. That was our exchange."