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Mauricio Pochettino and Leonardo
Mauricio Pochettino’s PSG future is in question after an early Champions League exit (Picture: Getty)

Paris Saint-Germain sporting director Leonardo gave the tamest of backings to manager Mauricio Pochettino, saying he is ‘still part of the project for this season’ after their dramatic defeat to Real Madrid on Wednesday night.

PSG were bundled out of the Champions League at the last 16 stage despite getting themselves into a commanding position against the Spanish giants.

Pochettino’s men were 2-0 up on aggregate with just 30 minutes to go of the second leg, before a Karim Benzema hat-trick in just 17 minutes turned the entire tie around and sent Real into the quarter-finals.

There were already doubts over whether the Argentine would still be at PSG next season and now there will be questions asked loudly about his future in Paris.

Leonardo partly suggested that this defeat, especially as it came down to a small part of the two legs, should not be something the manager is judged on. But then he would not back the boss beyond the end of this campaign.

‘We shouldn’t throw everything in the bin. We shouldn’t start from scratch after every loss,’ Leonardo told RMC Sport, via Get French Football News.

Real Madrid v Paris Saint-Germain: Round Of Sixteen Leg Two - UEFA Champions League
Pochettino was left dejected and confused by his team’s capitulation (Picture: Getty Images)

‘The objective is to win the Champions League, and until half time we were fine. We have to look to improve this team and maintain morale to play in Ligue 1 and to finish the season well.

‘We should stay together. Pochettino is still part of the project for this season. It’s not the time to think about that.’

Leonardo also looked to shift some blame onto the officials in Madrid, for not giving a foul on goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma in the lead up to Benzema’s first goal after the Frenchman barged the Italian.

Real Madrid v Paris Saint-Germain: Round Of Sixteen Leg Two - UEFA Champions League
Benzema’s challenge on Donnarumma went unpunished (Picture: Getty Images)

‘It’s a tough one to take,’ the Brazilian continued. ‘We can’t bury everything that was done. It’s hard to analyse.

‘The incident of the foul on Donnarumma was crucial, but we struggled to manage that moment. We lost control. We need to look for solutions. But it’s a shame that a referee’s decision can be so influential in that sort of moment.

‘But we should stay calm. We made errors, we should change things but we shouldn’t look back on everything. It’s difficult but, up until half time we were a well-organised team.’

MORE : Mauricio Pochettino admits he cannot explain PSG capitulation against Real Madrid

MORE : ‘They don’t care’ – Paris Saint-Germain can’t succeed with these players, says Steve McManaman

For more stories like this, check our sport page.

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Source: Metro Sport

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