Oman Daily Observer

Pochettino hopes Messi can be fit for Man City clash

- — Reuters

On Sunday, we will be able to give a positive update. We hope everything goes well and he will be available again... Yes, we hope he can play (against City). We have to be cautious

PARIS: Lionel Messi has been ruled out of Paris St Germain’s match against Montpellie­r as he has not fully recovered from a bone bruising injury, but manager Mauricio Pochettino hopes he returns for their midweek match against Manchester City.

Messi suffered a knock on his left knee and an MRI scan earlier this week confirmed signs of a bone contusion. He missed PSG’S 2-1 victory at Metz on Wednesday.

The 34-year-old Argentine forward, who joined the French club from Barcelona on a two-year contract in August, will be assessed again on Sunday — ahead of the Champions League home game against City on Tuesday.

“Messi has started to run today... We are going to assess him and we hope he improves,” Pochettino told reporters on Friday.

“On Sunday, we will be able to give a positive update. We hope everything goes well and he will be available again... Yes, we hope he can play (against City). We have to be cautious.”

Pochettino said the City match will not affect his selection on Saturday, with Angel Di Maria expected to play the league game as he remains suspended in the Champions League after his red card in last season’s semis against the Premier League side.

“We will see, there are different options and different systems. We will see who gives the team the right balance. We also have the flexibilit­y to change as we go,” Pochettino added.

“Mauro Icardi is a player who contribute­d a lot up until his injury. He then recovered and has made a big impact. Of course, he offers us an alternativ­e in our attack.”

PSG midfielder Marco Verratti will return to training on Sunday while defender Sergio Ramos, who has yet to make his club debut, continues to train individual­ly as he recovers from a calf injury. Montpellie­r lost their two main goal scorers from last season — Andy Delort and Gaetan Laborde — in the transfer window but Pochettino said he was still wary of the side who have already scored 15 league goals, second behind PSG’S 20.

“They work very hard and we’ve seen that in our preparatio­ns,” Pochettino said. “They have quality players and it’s not just their fast transition­s, they can also develop their play and they are patient in their buildup.

MAURICIO POCHETTINO PSG coach

 ?? — AFP ?? Paris Saint-germain’s head coach Mauricio Pochettino (C) jokes with sporting director Leonardo (R) and deputy sporting director Angelo Castellazz­i (L) during a training session.
— AFP Paris Saint-germain’s head coach Mauricio Pochettino (C) jokes with sporting director Leonardo (R) and deputy sporting director Angelo Castellazz­i (L) during a training session.
 ?? ?? Paris St Germain’s Lionel Messi in action. — Reuters
Paris St Germain’s Lionel Messi in action. — Reuters

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