Despite a well-earned reputation for being an emotionally-intelligent, cuddle-hungry 'player's coach', Mauricio Pochettino certainly isn't afraid to do what many managers in the past haven't dared to attempt - subbing out Lionel Messi.
While Mauro Icardi's late winner in a fun 2-1 victory against Lyon was the most crucial moment of the game, it was a frowning Messi trudging off the pitch after 76 minutes with the scoreline at 1-1 that has really made some headlines.
Barcelona coaches never dared to take Messi out of the game. It only happened once for the whole of last season when Messi left a LaLiga game against Granada. But at the time, Messi had scored two and Barcelona were 4-0 up.
On Sunday, the game's destiny was still up in the air but with Messi getting treatment for a knee injury, Pochettino made some on-pitch changes which proved to work out, especially with Icardi's introduction. But he had to answer for them afterwards when probed if any cross words were shared between Messi and himself after the swap with Achraf Hakimi.
"These are decisions that have to be made by the coach," said Pochettino, "as for his reaction, I asked him how he was, he said he was OK. That was it. That was our exchange."
"Sometimes players like it and sometimes they don't. At the end of the day, that's why we're here," continued the defiant Argentinian who is sitting on a record in Ligue 1 of six wins from six.
There is a swift chance of making that seven - and of Messi scoring his first PSG goal - with a Wednesday Ligue 1 match at bottom-of-the-table Metz. Coverage gets underway live on beIN SPORTS at 2:55PM ET / 11:55AM PT.
Ligue 1 puts focus on Lens
Back again so soon?
Warmed croissants are on the menu for France's adults-in-the-room at Ligue 1 today. Soon after throwing all sorts of rule books at Nice and Marseille for fan violence, another disciplinary panel is gathering to deliberate how to handle half-time trouble at the Lens vs. Lille 'Derby du Nord' on Saturday.
Lens fans went onto the pitch to confront the visiting away fans from Lille, seats were thrown, minor injuries were suffered, but fortunately riot police were able to hold the line. Nevertheless, Lens could be in big trouble, especially considering the precedent of Nice serving a current four-match supporters ban in their own stadium.
A very struggling Lille will be back in action on beIN SPORTS on Wednesday against Reims from 12:50PM ET / 9:50AM PT.
Koeman back on chopping block at Barca
The first thing Ronald Koeman needs to do each day is check the morning papers in Barcelona to see whether he is on the brink of being the future of the club - self declared as it happens - or if he's going to be fired as coach. It's a status as changeable as the weather.
Koeman is protesting this seesaw scenario, but that's the reality in the showbiz, soap opera of soccer. "It cannot be that I have to answer before Bayern if I am going to renew for another year and now the next questions will be over whether I fear for my future," was Koeman's complaint ahead of Monday's LaLiga match for Barcelona in the Camp Nou.
The game comes hot on the heels from the 0-3 home defeat by Bayern Munich in the Champions League. However, slightly more modest opposition in the form of Granada are in town for a Barcelona side that is in tenth and six points off Real Madrid at the top of the table. Granted - Barca have played two games less but...a crisis is a crisis and the standings don't lie, etc.
Another Brady bunch for the Bucs
Sports Burst is going to end on a millennial-friendly 32-year-old joke to close things down on Monday in reaction to another big NFL Sunday from Tom Brady. The 44-year-old threw five touchdown passes in a 48-25 win for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers against the Atlanta Falcons.
That sees nine TD passes in two games so far this season to prompt - "I'll have what he's having." Except that's probably 10 gallons of kale juice and the dust from ground-down volcanic rocks flown in from New Zealand.