In his first season at Paris Saint-Germain, Mauricio Pochettino prioritizes Ligue 1 over other competitions and supports Sergio Rico after a rough showing in the loss to Lorient.
At Stade du Moustoir on Sunday, PSG was beaten 3-2 as the Parisians suffered their first defeat under new head coach Pochettino.
Spanish goalkeeper Rico deputized between the posts for Keylor Navas, with the first choice of PSG absent due to a stomach injury.
But for his performance, Rico received widespread criticism, raising more doubts about his suitability as the understudy of Navas and highlighting the value of the Costa Rican.
Due to a groin injury, Navas looks set to miss Nimes’ visit on Wednesday as well, meaning Rico is likely to retain his place in the squad.
PSG has had a much better winning record with Navas in the squad since the start of last season (78.4 percent of 37 matches) than when Rico started (57.1 percent of seven matches).
When Rico is in the starting XI (1.4 goals per game) compared to Navas (0.7 goals per game), they also concede twice as much on average, but Pochettino was keen to give his help to the 27-year-old.
On Tuesday, Pochettino told reporters, “It is important that all the players are available so that the competition between them helps them to reach their best level,”
“We have such a squad that while they are on the pitch, those who play less frequently have to be able to play and perform well.
“It is sometimes difficult to find positive elements when you lose a game, but we are happy with Sergio and his level in the team, and we expect him to perform well.”
Given the important matches on the horizon for PSG, the decision not to gamble Navas seems a wise one, as they go to Marseille on Sunday for Le Classique and have the first leg of their last-16 Champions League clash with Barcelona on February 16.
“We have to improve collectively,” he said. In two events, we lost the match in Lorient. We’re searching for solutions.
We don’t have much time for preparation, so we’re talking about trying to find solutions. We arrived with my team, with the conditions you know.
“We assume our great responsibility. The objective is to win, to optimize the team. We want to win Ligue 1, which is our priority objective and there is time to do so.”