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Mauricio Pochettino revealed how Lionel Messi has already influenced his Paris Saint-Germain team-mates after the new superstar signing made his long-awaited debut for the club.
Messi was presented as a 66-minute replacement during PSG’s 2-0 win over Reims on Sunday and came to replace former Barcelona colleague Neymar in the Ligue 1 match.
His short cameo saw him complete 20 of his 21 attempts at passes, while also making mistakes three times, as the six-time Ballon d’Or winner had received an exciting reception at his introduction from both home and away fans inside the stadium .
Pochettino was delighted to see his Argentine employee quickly come to life in French football, revealing how the 34-year-old’s presence has lifted his squad as they wanted to recall the league title.
“He brought peace to the team. It is important to get off to a good start, even for him, “said PSG’s head coach after Messi’s maiden training.
“He was happy and he is well integrated in the group. It was a matter of common sense not to start him in this game.
“The welcome was something very beautiful to see and hear, from our followers, but also from fans of Reims. Messi was very happy about it.
“The motivation for competition is there for everyone, but his presence brings optimism. Everyone feels he has an influence on the other players. ”
Although Messi may have been the main attraction on the way into the fixture, Kylian Mbappe stole the show with both goals.
His brace amid speculation about his future helped PSG make it four wins from four at the start of the new league, and the campaign left them at the top of the table on their way into the international break.
Pochettino were particularly pleased to keep a first clean sheet this season as well, though they did benefit from a VAR check that ruled out a possible Reims equalizer for offside.
“It is a great success for us. “We did not concede a goal, which was one of our main goals before this match,” the former Tottenham boss told the media.
“This is not always obvious because the fitness levels are very different from each other. Some players returned today.
“We are on 12 points. I’m happy before these two weeks of international break. ”