Thursday, May 26

Mbappe hails star as Pochettino still wants Paris Saint-Germain to improve

Paris Saint-Germain forward Kylian Mbappe hailed teammate Lionel Messi after his side’s 4-1 win against Club Brugge.

PSG came into the match with qualification secured but top spot out of reach. That did not stop Mauricio Pochettino from selecting his best team in a match. Both Mbappe and Messi were on hand to both net braces as PSG dismantled the Belgium side on Tuesday.

Mbappe spoke to UEFA, saying: “It’s easy to play with Lionel Messi. 

“He’s the best player in the world. He won the Ballon d’Or a few days ago. He scored two goals today, he is happy, and I hope he will help us in the future.

“We wanted to win this match at home with all the fans here. It was important to score fast in the game, it’s what we did. After, we scored a second time and we were good all the game.

“We had a few minutes in the second half where we were out of the game but we have to improve again. We are happy with the win and are ready to fight for the next game this weekend.”

Asked if teams will want to avoid PSG in the round of 16, Mbappe answered: “We don’t know, we are waiting for the draw and we are going to see who we play and we will be ready to fight.”

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Pochettino wants fun and improvement

Despite his side’s victory, PSG coach Mauricio Pochettino still thinks his side can improve but believes another small step forward was taken. 

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The Argentine went with his best available team despite second place being secured. Lionel Messi was selected as a false nine flanked by Kylian Mbappe and Angel di Maria in the injury-enforced absence of Neymar.

After the win, Pochettino told Canal Plus: “I think it was a very good game. We started the game very well. There was a great connection on the pitch between the players. We played well on some sequences.

 “I really liked how we played football in this great atmosphere. With the talent that we have in the team, you have to have fun. 

“We always work hard; we always try to create a bond between the players. It’s just a matter of time for this link to appear.

“Of course, we qualified, but the responsibility was to show a little more.

“But I’m happy; I’m happy with the performance. Happy for my players who deserve this. It is a good step forward. We know we can still improve. It is not yet incredible, but this small step that we have taken is important.”

The Champions League last 16 draw will take place in Nyon, Switzerland on Monday the 13th of December.

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