Paredes hails Pochettino’s impact at PSG

Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) midfielder Leandro Paredes said he is relishing the freedom afforded to him by manager and fellow Argentine Mauricio Pochettino.

Paredes said he has a new-found enjoyment for the game since Pochettino replaced Thomas Tuchel as PSG’s head coach in January.

“He has done a lot for me since the day he arrived,” the 26-year-old told Argentine television channel TyC Sports, Xinhua news reports. “He sat down to talk to me. He gave me a lot of peace of mind and confidence, which is the most important thing for a player.”

Paredes has made 81 appearances for PSG since joining the club from Zenit Saint Petersburg in January 2019.

He said he is feeling more settled than ever in the French capital, a fact he attributes to the former Tottenham Hotspur boss.

“He (Pochettino) asked me to play free, to always be in contact with the ball, to try to play my own game and to have fun.

That for me is more than enough. I hope to continue to repay the faith that he’s shown in me through my performances on the pitch.”

Paredes, who has been capped 27 times for Argentina’s national team, did not hide his enthusiasm at the prospect of representing the Albiceleste at this year’s Copa America, scheduled to be played in Argentina and Colombia from June 11 to July 10.

However, he expressed concern that a new spike in coronavirus cases might force organisers to postpone the event for the second time in a year.

“The national team is always on my mind, (though) one has this doubt as to whether it will be played or not,” he added.