Chelsea are the team to beat in the Champions League, says Paris Saint-Germain boss Mauricio Pochettino

PSG signed Lionel Messi as a free agent from Barcelona to assemble a formidable attacking trio with France striker Kylian Mbappe and Brazil forward Neymar, but they are yet to show what they are capable of together

Lionel Messi (right) joined Neymar at Paris Saint-Germain over the summer (Getty)
Image: Lionel Messi (right) joined Neymar at Paris Saint-Germain over the summer

Paris Saint-Germain head coach Mauricio Pochettino insists last season's winners Chelsea remain the team to beat in this term's Champions League.

That is despite the considerable recruitment drive PSG made this summer, which included the addition of Lionel Messi from Barcelona, and the arrival of Cristiano Ronaldo at Manchester United.

Chelsea also re-strengthened their squad with Romelu Lukaku and Saul Niguez after triumphing over Manchester City in last term's final, and Pochettino believes it will take time for his own new recruits to bed in.

"We're not a team yet," he said, as they prepare to open Group A against Club Brugge on Wednesday night.

"We are a club that has recruited many players this summer. There are some big names but we have to turn into a team. We are a group of players who need to achieve results.

"There's a feeling that we're (PSG and Chelsea) the two teams to beat but Chelsea are the holders so they're the team to beat especially after strengthening their squad."

AP: Pochettino
Image: Mauricio Pochettino's side are one of the favourites to win the Champions League this season

Captain Marquinhos said that there was "no added pressure" to win the Champions League since Messi had signed his two-year contract in a summer when former Real Madrid skipper Sergio Ramos and Liverpool midfielder Georginio Wijnaldum also arrived.

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"We live with the pressure every season, especially when you play for PSG. This is part and parcel of it," the Brazilian said.

"With the squad we have, people are going to talk about that even more. We are delighted to have such players with us but there's no extra pressure, there's only positives to take."

PSG reached the Champions League semi-finals last season and were runners up in 2020 but have never won Europe's elite club competition.

Pochettino said he had not decided yet whether Mbappe, Neymar and Messi, who has so far only played half an hour with PSG, would all play at the Jan Breydel stadium, explaining he would make his decision after Tuesday's training session.

Paris Saint-Germain defender Marquinhos (AP)
Image: PSG captain Marquinhos says there is 'no added pressure' on the team to win the Champions League

Should they play together, Marquinhos said he had no concerns about how the team would defend.

"If the three of them are up front, they're experienced players, they know we have to be compact and defend together, and we know the defence has to play high to put them in the best conditions," he explained.

"If there's anything to be said I'll certainly say it."

Pochettino has choices to make in attack, but perhaps more significantly, he will need to pick between Keylor Navas and Gianluigi Donnarumma to play in goal after the Italian keeper joined the club having led the Azzurri to the European title.

"We'll decide game by game. I think it's the fairest thing. The reality is that having those two in the squad makes us happy," he said.

"The season is long and having them will benefit the club. Every player knows that when you sign for PSG there will be competition. It's very clear that there are only 11 starters among which only one goalkeeper."

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