PSG: Pastore rested but not being punished

Argentine playmaker Javier Pastore needs to rest and his omission from the Paris Saint-Germain squad for Thursday's Europa League away game against Salzburg is not a sanction, coach Antoine Kombouare said on Wednesday.

"I have left Pastore to rest because he has been less good for a few weeks. He needs to recuperate with a specific programme," Kombouare was quoted as telling a news conference in Salzburg by the club's website.

"But it is not a sanction at all."

PSG, who spent more than 80 million euros on the transfer market in the off-season, have been struggling lately after a bright start to the season.

They have lost their last two Ligue 1 games, 1-0 at home against Nancy and 3-0 at bitter rivals Olympique Marseille on Sunday, with Pastore, who joined from Palermo on a French record 42-million-euro transfer in August, appearing a shadow of his usual, brilliant self.

PSG have dropped to second in Ligue 1, three points behind surprise package Montpellier, and lie second in their Europa League Group F three points adrift of Athletic Bilbao.

A defeat on Thursday could cost Kombouare his job, with media reports suggesting that former France midfielder Claude Makelele, now an advisor to general manager Leonardo, could take over on a caretaking basis.