Former Paris Saint-Germain manager Mauricio Pochettino has broken his silence for the first time since being shown the door out of the Parc des Princes at the end of the recently concluded season. He spoke at length about his former employers, whom he feels are obsessed with the Champions League to a fault.

The Argentine took over from Thomas Tuchel in 2021, and led PSG to the Ligue 1 title as well as the Coupe de France. However, despite these victories, the club saw it fit to sack him ahead of the 2022-23 campaign. While it has become common knowledge, the manager confirmed that his "divorce" from the club was a result of their failure to win the UEFA Champions League trophy.

Pochettino admitted that after PSG were humiliated by Real Madrid in the round-of-16 of Europe's top club competition, he knew that his days were numbered. He then slammed the club for its singular focus. "Everything [at PSG] is focused on the Champions League, and sometimes that can be a little distracting," he said, in an interview with Infobae.

He then revealed that the club takes other competitions for granted, as evidenced by the fact that they did not seem to value the silverware that he brought home last season. "The Champions League is the obsession and anything short of winning the Champions League is equivalent to failure," he said.

The club is seeking its first Champions League title, and the longer it takes for them to achieve the feat, the more obsessed they appear to be. In fact, they have been splashing the cash to bring in massive signings and previous Champions League winners in the hopes of finding the right formula to finally clinch the trophy.

Last summer, after the arrival of Lionel Messi and Sergio Ramos from FC Barcelona and Real Madrid respectively, expectations were very high. The two players have eight Champions League trophies between them, and PSG were hoping that they could guide the squad to European glory.

However, they were knocked out by Real Madrid after a sensational hat-trick by Karim Benzema. Incidentally, neither Messi nor Ramos figured much in the previous campaign, with both spending a lot of time in the sidelines due to injury.

It was Kylian Mbappe who was the shining star, but his goals in each of the last-16 legs were not enough against Real Madrid. Pochettino spoke about that fateful night in the second leg at the Santiago Bernabeu, and revealed that he still has some bitterness about the outcome.

PSG arrived with a 1-0 advantage from Mbappe's late goal in the first leg. He doubled the advantage to 2-0 in the first half of the second leg before the Benzema storm swept through the field and left PSG in shambles in his wake.

However, Pochettino thinks there was a foul by Benzema on PSG keeper Gianluigi Donnarumma that should have turned the tide. "I think it was a foul and if VAR was checked we'd be talking about something else right now... Real Madrid's elimination," he said.

Regardless of his opinion, the match has been settled and Real Madrid had gone on to win a record 14th UEFA Champions League title. For his part, he is awaiting his next big challenge after leaving his post in Paris.

Mauricio Pochettino
Mauricio Pochettino David Ramos/Getty Images