Pochettino explains decision to take Messi off during PSG's win over Lyon

"We have important matches coming up and we have to protect ourselves," he said

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Paris Saint-Germain beat Lyon 2-1 on Sunday thanks to Mauro Icardi's late winner but the news was made earlier when Lionel Messi was taken off.

Coach Mauricio Pochettino decided to take Messi off in the 75th minute to bring on Hakimi and the former Barcelona forward's face said it all. He was angry.

"We have important matches coming up and we have to protect ourselves," Pochettino said after the match. "These are decisions made for the team and everyone knows we have many great players, with a squad of 35. We have to take these decisions."

The former Tottenham boss added: "Sometimes they might be viewed favourably, sometimes a little less. Sometimes these choices pay off and sometimes they don't."

Lyon led in Paris on Sunday but Neymar's penalty and Icardi's 93rd-minute header earned three points to make it six wins from six in Ligue 1 for PSG.

"After the difficult game against Club Brugge, this was important for us," Pochettino said. "Lyon play really well. We go behind in the second half and the team showed character."

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