Mbappe asks about England and Spain – PSG boss Pochettino

By Sports Desk April 26, 2021

Paris Saint-Germain head coach Mauricio Pochettino said star Kylian Mbappe asks about England and Spain amid speculation over his future.

Mbappe has been heavily linked with LaLiga champions Real Madrid, as well as Premier League holders Liverpool previously.

The France international is out of contract in 2022 but Ligue 1 champions PSG remain hopeful of re-signing the 22-year-old forward.

Pochettino was asked about his relationship with Mbappe ahead of Wednesday's Champions League semi-final first leg against Manchester City.

"Kylian loves football, he loves to talk about football," Pochettino said. "He asks about England – how is the game, the mentality and the culture there? – and also Spain and Argentina. He will watch, every day, games from England, France, Italy, Germany.

"He's only 22 but very mature, confident in his talent and open. He can speak French, of course, but also perfect English and Spanish. I speak in English and Spanish with him – more English than Spanish.

"I said to him the other day: 'I need to practise my French with you, to improve', and he said: 'Sure, but it's better for me to talk in English'. He loves to practise different languages.

"Before the [Champions League last 16] first leg in Barcelona, I told him that I'd won there one time with Espanyol and he said, very seriously: 'OK, tomorrow will be the second time'. I said: 'Are you sure?' And he said: 'Yes, don't worry. We are going to win'. He was laughing after the game and he said to me on the pitch: 'I told you, I told you, I told you'."

Pochettino spoke glowingly of fellow PSG star Neymar, who has also been linked with a move away from the French capital – a return to Barcelona continually discussed after he left Camp Nou in a world-record deal in 2017.

Neymar, who appears set to extend his PSG contract, has either scored (three) or assisted (one) in each of his previous three Champions League semi-final appearances, while he has had a direct hand in nine goals in his 12 matches against English sides in the competition (five goals and four assists).

"It's so easy with Neymar because you don’t need to do too much," Pochettino added. "From day one, he's been very open to work. He's very humble, he listens and always accepts all the instructions in a very good way.

"Brazilian players have something special inside. They love to play football because it's like a dance. They play like they are dancing. Ronaldinho was my team-mate when I was a PSG player and now Neymar. They need to feel good, to feel happy to perform in the best way."

PSG are just the third French team to reach the semi-finals of the European Cup/Champions League in consecutive seasons, after Saint-Etienne in 1975 and 1976 and Marseille in 1990 and 1991.

Pochettino's PSG are also looking to reach their second consecutive Champions League final, following their defeat to Bayern Munich in last season's showpiece.

PSG would be just the ninth side to do so in back-to-back campaigns, while only Atletico Madrid and Valencia failed to lift the trophy in either of their first two final appearances.

"The target in the last 10 years has been to win the Champions League and the club is working really hard to try to be there and win," said Pochettino, who upstaged Pep Guardiola's City en route to Tottenham's Champions League final appearance in 2019.

"It is that last step, which is always the most difficult. If you remember at Tottenham, it was always about the last step being the most difficult thing. But Paris Saint-Germain is there and now it is about winning. I love to feel this. I love to feel that you need to win every single game."

Related items

  • Shastri urges BCCI to give pace sensation Malik central contract 'straightaway' Shastri urges BCCI to give pace sensation Malik central contract 'straightaway'

    Ravi Shastri has urged the BCCI to give Umran Malik a central contract with India "straightaway" and says the paceman will be a "handful" in red-ball cricket.

    Malik has taken the 2022 Indian Premier League by storm, claiming 21 wickets at an average of 20 for Sunrisers Hyderabad.

    The 22-year-old clocked the fastest ball in this year's tournament with a delivery that registered 156.9 kilometres per hour on the speed gun against Delhi Capitals this month.

    Malik rattled India captain Rohit Sharma on the helmet and took 3-23 to make another huge statement in Sunrisers' win over Mumbai Indians on Tuesday.

    He became the youngest Indian to take 20 wickets in an IPL season with his latest exhibition of explosive pace bowling.

    Former India head coach Shastri wants to see the rapid Malik in Rohit's pace attack on the international stage in the near future.

    "Central contract straightaway," Shastri said on ESPNcricinfo's T20 Time Out.

    "And keep him in the mix, don't let him float around. Keep him in the mix with the main players and then he learns seeing (and) being around with the [Mohammed] Shamis and the [Jasprit] Bumrahs, and see the way they train, see the way they manage their workload.

    "Of course, there'll be the team management there, support staff, that'll help him do that, but don't let him stray at the moment. Get him into the mix, and keep him there and groom him."

    Shastri says the quick will be even more potent when he learns to bowl with more control.

    He said: "He'll get better and better. You see his bowling once he takes a wicket. Look at the lines he starts bowling as opposed to when he has not got a wicket – that's when he is trying everything, his lines are all over the place.

    "You don't want him to cut down on pace. The last thing you would tell him looking for control, cut down on pace. What you want him to do is get his lines right: if he can bowl that stump line, attack the stumps on a constant basis, varying his lengths, he will trouble [batters].

    "If he gets a wicket and new guy comes in, he can really rattle him because he has got the pace, he can keep the bloke on his toes, but it's that line - if he gets into that channel, without cutting his pace it will make a huge difference."

    Shastri says Malik can provide a new dimension to the India Test attack.

    "I promise you, this guy is going to be a handful in red-ball cricket. Handful, really. If he is part of an Indian pace battery that has Bumrah, Shami, you add this bloke in, a fourth guy, it's going to be a serious attack," he added.

  • Tuchel eager for Chelsea takeover to go through 'as quickly as possible' Tuchel eager for Chelsea takeover to go through 'as quickly as possible'

    Chelsea head coach Thomas Tuchel has said he is hopeful the takeover of the club will go through "as quickly as possible".

    The Blues agreed to terms for the sale of the club to an ownership group led by Todd Boehly, Clearlake Capital, Mark Walter and Hansjorg Wyss for £4.25billion earlier in May.

    The takeover, which promises investment of £1.75billion into the club, was expected to be completed later this month, but recent reports have suggested Roman Abramovich could scupper the deal by refusing to the sale structure.

    Speaking at a media conference ahead of Chelsea's game with Leicester City, Tuchel simply said he wanted things to happen sooner rather than later.

    "I'm aware [of the reports] but I've no new information," he said. "I've not been informed about the character of the issues that have arrived. So let's wait.

    "I'm still convinced it's in good hands, not my hands. Hopefully, it will go through as quickly as possible."

    Chelsea agonisingly lost the FA Cup final on Saturday to Liverpool in a penalty shoot-out, the second time they have been beaten in such fashion by the Reds having also been denied in the EFL Cup final in February.

    However, Tuchel was keen to dismiss the idea that losing two shoot-outs makes the season a failure for his team, who also fell away in the Premier League title race after a run of games between December and January that saw them win only one of seven outings (D5, L1).

    Chelsea will confirm third place in the league should they beat Leicester at Stamford Bridge on Thursday.

    "I refuse to judge the season by two penalty shoot-outs," Tuchel insisted. "If we won both, it would be one of the most successful seasons with four titles [after winning the UEFA Super Cup and FIFA Club World Cup].

    "We lost two but it doesn't make it less impressive what the team put in. But we're the first to admit that it's not the same to play a final and win a final.

    "So it's a bit of an imbalance judging the season given the circumstances. We struggled with corona, long-term injuries, a war that had a big effect on our club in particular.

    "There's always room for improvement, but we arrived in this [FA Cup] with key players out, Mateo [Kovacic] and N'Golo [Kante] with only half a training session, with the club sanctions, there is a lot of things that are impressive. Hopefully, we can come third and that is progression.

    "We maybe compete against the best teams to play in this league. So from there we go. There is no need to lose sleep and think we should've done this and this.

    "There is a lot of ambition in us that we are not satisfied."

  • Tuchel confirms Christensen opted out of FA Cup final for 'private' reasons Tuchel confirms Christensen opted out of FA Cup final for 'private' reasons

    Thomas Tuchel has no idea if Andreas Christensen will play for Chelsea again after the defender ruled himself out of the FA Cup final for "private" reasons.

    Christensen's contract expires at the end of the month and Barcelona are the favourites to sign him on a free transfer.

    The Denmark international started in the 3-0 Premier League win at Leeds United, but was not in the squad for a defeat to Liverpool on penalties on the FA Cup final at Wembley last Saturday.

    Blues boss Tuchel on Wednesday confirmed the centre-back told him he was unavailable on the morning of the game.

    Tuchel is unsure if Christensen will play in the London club's two remaining Premier League games against Leicester City on Thursday and Watford three days later, as they strive to secure third place. 

    Asked if Christensen will return, the German said in a press conference: "Not sure yet if he's involved tomorrow and at the weekend.

    "Andreas came on the morning of the match and told me he was not ready to play.

    "He had his reasons, they stay private and confidential, but it was not the first time as you can see over the last weeks we had some of the same situations why he did not play so regularly.

    "We thought that we are in a good progression and good development because he played very strong in the match before the final against Leeds but the conversation took place and we have to respect it and we of course respected it and he has our support.

    "It is unlikely for the weekend, it was on very short notice before the cup final and other matches in the weeks before. So no chance I have any prediction for tomorrow and the weekend."

    Timo Werner will miss the clash with Leicester due to a thigh injury, while Kai Havertz also has a thigh problem and will be monitored ahead of the game.

© 2022 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.