Paris Saint-Germain boss Mauricio Pochettino has revealed he replaced Lionel Messi at half-time of his side’s 2-1 win over Lille as a “precaution”.
Messi was replaced at the break at Parc des Princes with his side trailing to Jonathan David’s 31st-minute opener.
The 34-year-old is yet to score in Ligue 1 since his summer move from Barcelona. Mauro Icardi took his place on Friday night as the Parisians staged a second-half comeback, with late goals from Marquinhos and Angel Di Maria securing victory.
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Speaking after the match, Pochettino confirmed that Messi’s withdrawal was injury related, but sounded upbeat about the Argentine’s prospects of being fit for PSG’s Champions League clash with RB Leipzig on Wednesday.
“We have to wait. We spoke with the doctor. It’s a precaution," the PSG coach told Amazon Prime.
"He couldn't go on, but it's not a big issue. He will be available for the next game."
PSG left it late against Lille, with Marquinhos' equaliser arriving in the 74th minute and Di Maria providing the winner with less than three minutes of normal time remaining.
Victory gives PSG a 10-point cushion at the top of Ligue 1, but despite Messi's search for a first league goal continuing, Pochettino refused to be drawn on whether his team functions better with an out-and-out striker, like Icardi, in the team.
“I don't think that was the problem in the first half," he said.
"It's just that Lille knows us well. We weren't good enough to feed our offensive players and have control of the game. But I don't think it's a single player or a position that changes everything.
"Overall I think we deserved to win. It's an option to play (a three-man defence next time), to find different ways to play. We can adapt to this system. But it's good to be flexible.
"Sometimes the starting plan doesn't work and I'm happy to have that option for players with different characteristics. But we have to keep working on it.”
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