Manchester United managerial target Mauricio Pochettino has insisted that his Paris Saint-Germain stars know his situation as reports linking him with a departure from the French capital increase.
Pochettino has only been manager of PSG since January, but is thought to be ready to move on after growing frustrated with the realities of taking charge of the Ligue 1 giants.
By a quirk of fate, the Argentine travelled to Manchester this week as his PSG team took on Manchester City in their fifth game of the Champions League group stages.
But if that game was serving as an audition, it was one that Pochettino failed, with his side defeated by City in what was a much more comfortable win than the scoreline suggested for Pep Guardiola’s men.
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Kylian Mbappe had put the visitors in front five minutes into the second-half, after Lionel Messi ’s cross had taken a deflection.
But City were finally able to make their dominance of possession count following Mbappe’s opener, having controlled the game up to that point.
First, Raheem Sterling claimed the equaliser when he squeezed in Kyle Walker’s squared pass at the far post.
Then Gabriel Jesus gave City a lead they would not relinquish with a predatory finish from Bernando Silva’s brilliant lay-off.
Many of the post-match questions focused on Pochettino’s links with the United job, with some wondering if the swirling rumours had a negative affect on his PSG side.
Pochettino is thought to be willing to move to United immediately, with the Red Devils having seen an approach for him rejected by PSG in the lead-up to the City defeat.
But despite the potentially negative impact that could have on his current squad, the Argentine insisted that they are well-aware of his situation.
“The players know very well our situation,” Pochettino said, when asked whether he had needed to reassure them over his commitment to PSG.
“We know their situation. We are living in a business that rumours are there, sometimes negative, sometimes positive. That is not a thing to talk about – the rumours.”
Despite the defeat to City, PSG have secured their place in the knockout stages of the Champions League.
And Pochettino insisted that the loss will stand his side in good stead heading into the business end of the competition.
“I think the first half was difficult because Manchester City forced us to play deeper and it can be a good or a worse situation,” Pochettino told PSG TV.
“We have suffered, but you have to know how to suffer at this level, in the Champions League, and against a team like Manchester City, there are times when you need to suffer.
“In the second half I think we started better, I think we controlled the game in many periods and we scored.
“Afterwards, the circumstances of the team did not help us to continue in the same way and then we conceded a goal.
“A little disappointed but the qualification is there. We wanted to be the first so yes disappointed on this point.”