Soccer-Pochettino backs Messi to rediscover form in front of goal

FILE PHOTO: Soccer Football - Ligue 1 - Paris St Germain v OGC Nice - Parc des Princes, Paris, France - December 1, 2021 Paris St Germain's Lionel Messi during the warm up before the match REUTERS/Gonzalo Fuentes

PARIS (Reuters) - Paris Saint Germain forward Lionel Messi has "incredible talent" and the seven-time Ballon d'Or winner will soon fire on all cylinders, manager Mauricio Pochettino said on Friday.

Messi stunned the sports world when he left boyhood club Barcelona and joined PSG on a two-year deal in the close season.

But the 34-year-old Argentina international has had a slow start to life at PSG, scoring four goals in 12 games in all competitions, including one in Ligue 1.

"Leo has an incredible talent and has always scored, so he will score plenty more here," Pochettino told reporters ahead of Saturday's trip to Lens. "It's a matter of time and efficiency.

"He gets a lot of chances in every game. The ball will eventually go in and he will help us a lot, as he already does."

PSG are top of the table on 41 points after 16 games, 12 points above Olympique de Marseille, who have a game in hand.

Pochettino said the Parisian club will face a tricky test against fifth-placed Lens and urged the players to be more clinical in finishing their chances.

"The key will be to score goals by improving our efficiency in front of goal," Pochettino said. "We will play against a very physical Lens team. They are having a great season, and have a very good team with a good coach (Franck Haise)."

PSG said in a statement that defender Sergio Ramos' workload has been adjusted due to muscle fatigue and the 35-year-old will return to training on Sunday, having missed their 0-0 draw with Nice nL1N2SM3DT on Wednesday.

(Reporting by Manasi Pathak in Bengaluru; Editing by Ken Ferris)

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