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Mauricio Pochettino: “Neymar’s passion for football is still there”

Before the meeting against Angers, the Parisian coach wanted to be reassuring about Neymar’s state of mind.

The present, the absent, the injured or the returns … Mauricio Pochettino took stock of his workforce before the meeting against Angers and also defended Neymar around whom some doubts arise.

Juan Bernat has been training with you for several days. Is it possible to see him in the group against Angers?

He trains well, he’s been training with the group for two weeks. We have not given the list but there is a good chance that it is.

Are you sure Ramos will get back to his best? How does he see the situation?

I have no doubt that he will regain his abilities and his best level. A soccer player always wants to play and suffers from not being able to do so. He is a strong man who can count on the support of the club to help him.

Hakimi is number 1 on the right, is Dagba the natural replacement?

Colin has been training for a few weeks with the group and he is training well. He has already recovered. He is a player who performed well last season as he did against Bayern. He is a player with great potential and whom we really like. On the right we can also count on Bitu Mazala who comes from the academy and on Thilo Kehrer who has already played with Germany.

How did you address your players after Rennes?

At the end of the match the players left with their national team and there was no discussion at that time. We were able to talk, but only with those who are here and have returned. It was an accident, but it’s true that when you’re in Paris, you don’t like to lose.

You play without the South American internationals playing this Thursday night while you play the next day. Do you think this situation can distort the championship?

We are living through difficult times with Covid-19. There are situations that are not always normal and we have to adapt, but it is not always easy. We are frustrated not to have all the players available but that is no excuse because we have a large squad and we will have a competitive team.

How did you receive Neymar’s words?

I explained it yesterday on Spanish radio. He is a sincere boy who reveals his feelings. He has significant mental strength as he’s been in the spotlight from a young age but he’s someone who loves football.

What did you think of his performance in Rennes? And do you think his passion for football is still intact?

Without a doubt, Neymar’s passion is still there and he demonstrates it every day with us. In Rennes, the collective performance was not good and that is what explains the result.

During the night from Wednesday to Thursday, Keylor Navas was injured. Have you heard from him?

We’ll take a look at this when he comes back here. We are in contact with him, he told us that he felt an embarrassment and we hope that if he had to leave at half-time of the match against the United States it is only as a precaution.

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