Champions League: Lionel Messi handed 4/10 by L’Equipe after ‘hit and miss’ display vs Man City


Lionel Messi is handed a FOUR out of ten in the savage L’Equipe ratings after his ‘hit and miss’ display in defeat to Man City… while ‘swept away’ Mauricio Pochettino gets a four too amid speculation to the Man United job


Lionel Messi incurred the wrath of famously savage French paper L’Equipe after his off-colour display against Manchester City on Wednesday night – calling the Argentine ‘hit and miss’ in the 2-1 defeat.

City secured top spot in their Champions League Group A to move into the last 16 of the competition by beating one of the favourites to win the trophy, as goals from Raheem Sterling and Gabriel Jesus saw them come from behind after Kylian Mbappe’s opener.

But for all of PSG’s attacking talents, they offered little to threaten Pep Guardiola’s men after going ahead – registering just two shots on target – with Messi singled out for a nearly anonymous performance as he was handed a four out of ten by L’Equipe.

Lionel Messi was handed a four out of ten by L’Equipe after his display against Manchester City

The French outlet were unimpressed with Messi and fellow attackers Neymar and Mbappe

The French outlet were unimpressed with Messi and fellow attackers Neymar and Mbappe

The French outlet are notoriously tough with their ratings and were left unimpressed by the star, claiming he was ‘overwhelmed by defenders’ at the Etihad.

‘Yes, he delivers the almost decisive pass to Mbappe [for the goal], yes, he initiates some situations by his work as a pivot between the lines, but we are entitled to expect more [from] a six-time Ballon d’Or [winner],’ the paper said. ‘In the [build up] of the game, he must [do] more. 

‘Some of his [final third] choices were hit and miss. More worrying, sometimes, he [looked] overwhelmed against defenders.’

Mbappe got the opening goal but L'Equipe' said he had been 'untraceable' during the game

Mbappe got the opening goal but L’Equipe’ said he had been ‘untraceable’ during the game

L'Equipe's full ratings for the game saw them dish out six 4/10 ratings, including to Lionel Messi and Mauricio Pochettino

L’Equipe’s full ratings for the game saw them dish out six 4/10 ratings, including to Lionel Messi and Mauricio Pochettino

Mbappe and Neymar were not spared from criticism either. While L’Equipe handed the French forward an ultra rare 10/10 after his four-goal haul against Kazakhstan earlier this month, they were nowhere near as generous here – giving him a five.

‘The Parisian striker has long been untraceable,’ it added. ‘He had to move – to the right in particular – to be served. Sometimes rough in 1 v 1, he [was] imprecise during his duel against Ederson. In the period of Parisian domination, when the ‘MNM’ (Messie, Neymar Mbappe) finally appeared, Mbappe made some differences.’

Neymar also got five, although he received less stinging criticism – as they admitted they ‘can’t blame him for hiding’ against City and praised him for a superb through ball to Mbappe to send him through on goal. They did, however, slam him for a late miss towards the end of the match. 

And boss Mauricio Pochettino – who continues to be surrounded by heavy links to the Manchester United job – was accused of having his tactics ‘swept away’.

‘Difficult to assess it, because his initial game plan was swept away by the absence of Verratti,’ said the verdict. 

‘His team suffered too much at first and did not show control. Faced with the injuries of Gueye, Herrera and Nuno Mendes, he [was] forced to adapt. His choices – Kehrer on the left, Danilo torchbearer – [were] not efficient. His tactical changes – moving to 4-2-3-1 – [did] not bring more control.’ 

Guardiola got the upper hand over his former Premier League rival boss and got a six from L’Equipe. 

Mauricio Pochettino, meanwhile, was accused of having his tactics 'swept away' as he continues to be linked to the Manchester United job

Mauricio Pochettino, meanwhile, was accused of having his tactics ‘swept away’ as he continues to be linked to the Manchester United job

L'Equipe were most impressed with Riyad Mahrez as they hailed his 'dangerous' dribbling

L’Equipe were most impressed with Riyad Mahrez as they hailed his ‘dangerous’ dribbling

PSG’s top performing player was their defensive unit of centre-backs Presnel Kimpembe and Marquinhos in front of goalkeeper Keylor Navas – who all got a six out of ten. However, their full backs either side of them, Achraf Hakimi and Nuno Mendes, both followed Messi and Pochettino in being awarded fours.

Former Manchester United midfielder Ander Herrera was also given a four. 

They were much kinder to Man City, and were most impressed by Riyad Mahrez on the opposing team. L’Equipe said he was the focal point of City’s attack and kept PSG busy with his ‘dangerous dribbling.

Meanwhile, midfielder Ilkay Gundogan was awarded a seven, as was Bernardo Silva, but goalscorer Raheem Sterling had to settle for a six.

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