Mauricio Pochettino has dismissed suggestions that rumours linking him with the vacant job at Manchester United impacted his Paris Saint-Germain side as they fell to a 2-1 defeat to Manchester City on Wednesday.
Kylian Mbappe gave the French side the lead shortly after half-time, only for goals from Raheem Sterling and Gabriel Jesus to fire City to the win, securing them top spot in their group as a result.
Despite taking the lead, PSG were second-best throughout, but Pochettino was adamant that news stories linking him with an exit were not behind that disjointed performance.
“The players know very well the situation – we are living in a business in which rumours are there, sometimes negative, sometimes positive,” he said (via Sky Sports News). “That is what we say about the rumours.”
United remain open to the idea of hiring Pochettino now, having accepted that the Argentine is their preferred target to replace Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, but PSG are reluctant to lose their boss midway through the season.
90min revealed earlier this week that PSG president Nasser Al-Khelaifi is far from happy with Pochettino’s willingness to join United immediately, and he is prepared to dig his heels in in an attempt to keep the boss until the end of the season.
Publicly, United have always insisted that they aren’t looking to sign Pochettino immediately and are instead exploring interim options, with Ralf Rangnick, Ernesto Valverde, Rudi Garcia, Lucien Favre and Paulo Fonseca all touted as possible targets.
Should they fail to land Pochettino now, United could reignite their pursuit in the summer, but in the meantime, the Argentine insists he is happy leading PSG.
“We are disappointed but we need to look forward,” he said after the City defeat.
“We are improving and I am happy in the process. Things are better than one month ago and much better than two months ago. Little by little the team is improving.”