Mauricio Pochettino ‘upset’ but Leonardo says PSG boss ‘still part of the project’ despite Real Madrid loss | Soccer News

Paris Saint-Germain manager Mauricio Pochettino has said “the next few weeks won’t be easy” after his side lost their Champions League Round of 16 tie to Real Madrid.

PSG took a 1-0 lead on the night through Kylian Mbappe, who had two extra goals ruled out, but Benzema’s hat-trick on 17 minutes gave Real a 3-2 win on aggregate.

“The first goal completely changed the game,” Pochettino said. “For an hour we were better than Real Madrid. The mood changed in the stadium.

Karim Benzema celebrates the goal against PSG with his teammate David Alaba

“We made mistakes after that, we can’t say we didn’t. The worst feeling is that we were the better team, but we lost the draw in 10 minutes.

“Paris St-Germain have been chasing the Champions League for several years now. I’m really disappointed, upset – but these things can happen. The next few weeks won’t be easy.”

Benzema: When PSG are in a hurry, it causes problems

Benzema’s goals saw him become Real Madrid’s third-highest goalscorer of all time with 309, leapfrogging him from legendary Alfredo Di Stefano (308).

Giving his reaction to the game, the 34-year-old suggested PSG struggled to play under pressure.

“We knew this is a team that if you put pressure on them they don’t panic, but it’s harder for them,” Benzema said.

“When you take the ball away from them, when you put them under pressure, they can’t connect with the three up front.

Benzema's goals against PSG saw him become Real Madrid's third all-time top scorer
Benzema’s goals against PSG saw him become Real Madrid’s third all-time top scorer

“It’s the problem of all teams who want to play the ball from behind. When they are in a hurry, it causes them problems.”

“In the first leg, it must be said that we were lucky to only come out 1-0,” added the Frenchman. “But we knew it would be different in Madrid.

“We pushed, we conceded a goal, but we were confident we would have chances. It’s a great Champions League night and we showed we were a great club.”

Leonardo: Pochettino still in the project for this season

PSG director of football Leonardo said Pochettino will remain part of the club’s project for the current season after the match.

“You shouldn’t throw everything in the trash,” said Leonardo RMC Sports. “We shouldn’t start from scratch after every defeat. The goal is to win the Champions League, and until half-time everything was fine.

“We have to look to improve this team and maintain the morale to play in Ligue 1 and finish the season well. We have to stick together.

Mauricio Pochettino and Leonardo
PSG sporting director Leonardo said the club’s aim was to win the Champions League but the team “shouldn’t start from scratch after every defeat”.

“Pochettino is still part of the plan for this season. Now is not the time to think about it.”

Speaking about the nature of the defeat, Leonardo said: It’s hard to take. We cannot bury everything that has been done. It is difficult to analyze.

“The Donnarumma foul incident was crucial, but we struggled to manage that moment. We lost control. We have to look for solutions. But it’s a shame that a referee’s decision can be so influential at times like this.

“But we have to stay calm. We made mistakes, we have to change things but we mustn’t look back. It’s difficult but, until half-time, we were a well organized team.”

When is the Champions League quarter-final draw?

Passed to the next stage of the Champions League, Real Madrid can now expect a quarter-final.

The Champions League quarter-final draw will take place on Friday 18 March at 11am UK time, with the balls drawn at UEFA headquarters in Nyon, Switzerland. The semi-finals will also be drawn at the same time.

Sky Sports

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