Manchester City welcome PSG this evening in the Champions League, and ahead of the match Le Parisien have had a chat with Samir Nasri.
The 34-year-old, now retired from playing the game professionally, was on Manchester City’s books from 2011-2017 so knows quite a bit about the club, even if he won’t be an expert on the current Pep Guardiola side.
Inevitably, given the Manchester United claims this week, Mauricio Pochettino was a big part of the conversation, and Nasri gave his frank opinion on some recent comments from the manager.
Pochettino was shown the door at Tottenham in November 2019, and quickly took up a role at PSG. He’s found it difficult to implement a style like he did at Spurs, and the manager has said it’s difficult to do so when he doesn’t have full command, and has to deal with the three superstars in place.
That’s seen suggestions he’s not entirely settled, and encouraged the rumours he could be moving to Manchester United.
Asked about that, Nasri said: “For the moment, I do not see a Pochettino style in Paris as there could have been in Tottenham or even Southampton, teams that he was able to make play in a beautiful way. With PSG, he’s grasping, he still hasn’t found the right formula, he doesn’t know which system to really play in… I don’t understand why he hasn’t started to field a three-way defence, for example. There are a lot of things I see that are a little bit inconsistent. And it’s a little too easy to say that it is not his project, to clear oneself in case of failure.”
Asked if the comments were part of an exit strategy, Nasri replied: “As luck would have it, Solskjaer was fired three days later and his name was found all over England as a possible future Manchester United manager.”
The former Manchester City player insisted PSG is well run, and then added: “It’s a little too easy when you’re a coach to say: yes, but it’s not my project.”
Quizzed on the possibility of Zinedine Zidane taking over from the Argentine, Nasri explained the former Real Madrid coach will be able to deal with the biggest stars, in a way which perhaps evades Pochettino: “Without disrespecting Tottenham, there was no star in his day. It’s easier to be heard. When in a locker room there are only internationals, there is a lot of ego and you have to be an alpha male to be respected.”
Harry Kane is of course a huge star, but not on the same level, and ego level, as the three currently at PSG.