Former Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) manager Mauricio Pochettino has claimed that he is now a better coach after managing Kylian Mbappe, Neymar Jr., and Lionel Messi.
The Argentine tactician took charge of PSG in January 2021 and replaced Thomas Tuchel at the managerial helm. Neymar and Mbappe were already at the Parc des Princes during that time, while Messi left Barcelona to join Pochettino's side the following summer.
The Argentine tactician was relieved of his duties this summer after PSG won the Ligue 1 title in the 2021-22 campaign. The team crashed out of the UEFA Champions League against Real Madrid in the last 16 and did not win the Coupe de France.
Speaking about managing Lionel Messi, Neymar, and Kylian Mbappe, Pochettino, who played for Les Parisiens between 2001 and 2003, told the BBC (h/t PSGTalk):
"In your mind, maybe you make it a difficult idea to manage, but they are humble. In the room, that is not the public, the media, social media. I think the approach is completely different."
The former Tottenham Hotspur manager added:
"When you have [Diego] Maradona in the national team you have one, but Messi, Neymar, Mbappe – a 19-year-old who won the World Cup – I think that they all need space, all need to approach in a different way.
Pochettino, who hasn't taken up another managerial role since being replaced by Christophe Galtier at the Parc des Princes this summer, concluded:
"Sometimes, the man management is to not make a decision, be flexible and listen, and it was a massive, massive challenge, the greatest players. Now, I am much better person, professional, coach, in every single aspect, to be able to have these type of players in the same dressing room."
PSG trio Kylian Mbappe, Lionel Messi, and Neymar expected to be in 2022 World Cup last 16
Unsurprisingly, Kylian Mbappe, Lionel Messi, and Neymar Jr. were all selected for their respective nations' 2022 FIFA World Cup squads.
The former AS Monaco forward has scored thrice in two games for France, who have sealed qualification to the last 16 with a game to spare.
Neymar played 80 minutes in Brazil's 2-0 win against Serbia before being substituted with an ankle injury. He missed his team's 1-0 win against Switzerland on November 28 as Brazil sealed qualification to the last 16.
Argentina, meanwhile, got off to a rocky start after a 2-1 loss to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, despite Lionel Messi scoring for La Albiceleste. The PSG playmaker then led by example to open the scoring once again against Mexico and help his team win 2-0.
A win against Poland on December 1 will seal Argentina's qualification to the next round.