Mbappe can play with freedom alongside Messi and Neymar, says Galtier

By Sports Desk September 29, 2022

Kylian Mbappe is a smart enough player to create space and play with freedom alongside Lionel Messi and Neymar, according to Paris Saint-Germain coach Christophe Galtier.

France international Mbappe appeared to question the tactics used at PSG when admitting last week he has "a lot more freedom" when playing for his country.

The 23-year-old was speaking on the back a 2-0 win over Austria in which he and strike partner Olivier Giroud linked up throughout, with both players on the scoresheet.

But while Galtier agrees that PSG could do with a Giroud-type player in their squad, he does not believe his side have a problem getting the most out of Mbappe in attack.

"I don't think he has less freedom," Galtier said ahead of Saturday's Ligue 1 clash with his former club Nice. "With Giroud, he has someone who opens up spaces for him.

"We don't have that player profile but he's just as smart to find other moves with Leo and Neymar giving him the ball in his preferred space.

"Kylian's analysis is correct. He's not in the same system for his club and national team. This is a discussion I've had with the president and Luis Campos about our attack.

"We were all convinced we needed a fourth player in that position with a different profile, but that player did not come [in the transfer window]. It's a shame but that's how it is.

"The technical relationship between Neymar, Leo and Kylian is different to what he has with the national team."

The relationship between PSG's star-studded front three was again in the spotlight this week when Neymar declined to comment on his relationship with Mbappe.

Speaking earlier this month, Mbappe admitted he has "hotter and colder moments" with the Brazil international, though added they have a strong mutual respect.

But when probed on the pair's relationship on Thursday, Galtier insisted he is more than happy with the chemistry in the dressing room.

"I am surprised I have to always repeat the same thing," he said. "Since I arrived here, to the current day, all I've experienced is normal things in the life of a locker room.

"There is nothing that's surprised me, nothing that has challenged me. The players here want to win together and they are also in competition [for a place in the side].

"They are all great champions with competitiveness, with egos. We have a pleasant dressing room. There is a discrepancy between what you hear and the reality."

 

The Parisians enter the contest with Nice top of Ligue 1 with seven wins and a draw from the opening eight matches of their latest title defence.

However, PSG have scored only one goal in both of their past two league outings – not since September 2020 have they failed to score more than once in three straight games.

Galtier said during the international break that his side need to show more of a "killer" instinct in front of goal, having managed 12 shots on target across the two matches.

"I want to remind the players that it would be beneficial to us to hurt teams quickly," Galtier added at Thursday's press conference.

"It will help with the management of the squad and playing time. But it must be said that opposing goalkeepers have also performed well against us."

PSG are unbeaten in their past 17 Ligue 1 games ahead of their return to action this weekend, which is the longest current run in the division.

Related items

  • Costa Rica can 'still dream' after late World Cup win against Japan Costa Rica can 'still dream' after late World Cup win against Japan

    Luis Fernando Suarez is relieved his Costa Rica team can "still dream" after they sealed a vital 1-0 win against Japan at the World Cup on Sunday.

    Coming off the back of a 7-0 thrashing at the hands of Spain in their opening game, Keysher Fuller's 81st-minute strike against the run of play at Ahmad bin Ali Stadium handed Costa Rica a win that gives them a chance of advancing to the knockout stage in Qatar.

    Los Ticos became the first team to concede seven goals in a game and then win their next match at the World Cup since Paraguay in 1958 (lost 7-3 to France, won 3-2 against Scotland).

    Head coach Suarez said he did not want to discuss "tactics or technical aspects" of the win as he praised his team at his post-match press conference.

    "I believe the main thing was our ability to do such amazing things," he said. "I'm not going to talk about tactical or technical aspects, today I need to value and appreciate what they have done to get this result.

    "We had to face many challenges but we firmly believed and wanted to be 100 per cent committed for our country to play well against a strong opponent like Japan.

    "We are alive [in the group], that is the main thing and no-one can forget about us yet. We can still dream."

    Fuller was the hero, with his goal the only shot Costa Rica have had on target in the tournament so far, and the 28-year-old added: "The main thing was to keep ourselves alive and to win, and we managed to do so.

    "We were in pain after the Spain defeat, but now we took a weight off our shoulders. We are a group that wants to achieve great things."

    Japan struggled to reproduce the form that saw them shock Germany in their opening game in Qatar, but the Samurai Blue still dominated large parts of the game, having 13 shots to Costa Rica's four and recording an expected goals (xG) rate of 0.8 to their opponents' 0.1.

    Head coach Hajime Moriyasu was left disappointed but stated in his press conference that his team will go into their final Group E clash against Spain with confidence.

    "It wasn't a bad match," he insisted. "In the second half we were trying to control the game and if we could have had total control, we would have won, but it didn't happen.

    "We beat Germany but that does not mean we will beat Spain. Both countries are World Cup winners, we have a lot of respect for them.

    "The Spain match will be tough but I think there is a good chance for us to win, so we have to prepare and go with confidence."

  • South Korea v Ghana: Taeguk Warriors targeting apparent lack of 'teamwork' as Addo keeps faith South Korea v Ghana: Taeguk Warriors targeting apparent lack of 'teamwork' as Addo keeps faith

    Unity will likely be key if Ghana are to avoid an early elimination from the World Cup, though that is seemingly an area upcoming opponents South Korea are aiming to exploit.

    The Black Stars put up a good fight as they lost 3-2 to Portugal, almost rescuing a commendable point only to see Inaki Williams slip at the vital moment after stealing the ball off goalkeeper Diogo Costa.

    As such, defeat at Education City on Monday will see Ghana exit at the group stage in consecutive appearances at the World Cup (also in 2014) after reaching the knockout rounds in both of their first two (2006 and 2010).

    But Ghana coach Otto Addo retains a positive outlook.

    Granted, his optimism is based partly on Portugal doing Ghana a favour against Uruguay, but Addo sees a real possibility of the Black Stars sitting second in Group H heading into the final game of the first stage.

    Asked if he was confident Ghana could still reach the last 16, Addo said: "First of all, certainly, we have a chance, especially because [South Korea and Uruguay] played a draw.

    "If we win against South Korea and Portugal wins, hopefully, against Uruguay, then we will be second, so the chance is still great.

    "For sure, it will be very, very tough to beat South Korea because they are good, but now we have to win. We are under pressure, but they are too."

    Ghana have not won any of their past five World Cup matches but they rarely fail to score, having netted at least once in six successive games at the tournament – Nigeria (eight) are the only African team to better that streak.

    With that in mind, South Korea will probably need to improve on their run of not scoring in three of their past five World Cup outings if they are to prevail on Monday.

    On top of that, they have failed to get a single shot on target in two of their most recent four fixtures at the tournament, and that includes the stalemate with Uruguay when they looked somewhat toothless.

    However, Paulo Bento's men seem to feel there will be an element of Ghana not helping themselves.

    Midfielder Jeong Woo-yeong said: "They are a fast team, but if we can take advantage of space behind their defence, I think we should have some opportunities.

    "They didn't seem to have such great team work. We played well in our first match and we'll try to build on that against Ghana."

    Fellow midfielder Song Min-kyu did not question Ghana's work ethic, though he picked up on a similar theme with regards to exploiting the Black Star's backline.

    "They have some speedy and physical players with good skills. We know we have to be prepared against them.

    "But we also saw that they had some holes behind their defense, and we should try to exploit that extra space."

    PLAYERS TO WATCH

    South Korea – Lee Kang-in

    Son Heung-min is, of course, South Korea's star. He will undoubtedly be expected to lead from the front, but he was ineffective against Portugal, managing just a single shot.

    Lee had some bright moments off the bench and ended up recording two key passes, a figure bettered by none of his team-mates. It is unclear if he will come into the starting XI, but he certainly has the ability to influence proceedings off the bench.

    Ghana – Thomas Partey

    Arsenal midfielder Partey showed how important he is to Ghana in the defeat to Portugal. Perhaps not known as a creator, he laid on two chances to team-mates in that game, a joint-high for Addo's side.

    But on top of that, he had the most touches (68), successful passes (47) and tackles (four) in the Ghana team. If they do beat South Korea, he will surely have played a vital role.

    PREDICTION

    With a 40.9 per cent chance of winning, South Korea go into this as the favourites according to Stats Perform data. However, the win probability calculator suggests it could be a very tight affair.

    The likelihood of a Ghana win sits at 31.3 per cent, meaning they have every right to feel they can leave with the three points – though a draw looks almost as likely (27.8 per cent).

  • Tite admits making a mistake with Neymar injury but remains confident Brazil's talisman will return in Qatar Tite admits making a mistake with Neymar injury but remains confident Brazil's talisman will return in Qatar

    Tite conceded he made a mistake in not realising earlier that Neymar had sustained an ankle injury in Brazil's World Cup win over Serbia.

    Neymar hobbled off in the 80th minute of the Selecao's 2-0 win on Thursday, having suffered what has been described as a lateral ligament injury to his right ankle.

    The Paris Saint-Germain star shared an update on his official Instagram account on Saturday, including photos of his heavily swollen foot. 

    Tite said in his post-match press conference that he was confident Neymar, as well as Danilo, who also suffered an injury against Serbia, would still be able to feature in Qatar.

    However, at his pre-match media conference ahead of Brazil's second Group G game, against Switzerland, Tite said he could have handled his star man better.

    "I made a mistake," he said. "I did not realise and I want to publicly acknowledge this.

    "He was injured, I didn't see that he had an injury, we didn't get that information. 

    "He tried to continue to play until he told us he was feeling his ankle, because right then he had the ability to try to push with the team, he participated in the goals.

    "I hadn't seen he had an injury, it was 10 minutes and it was not malicious, it was accidental."

    Neymar was fouled nine times against Serbia and has been the subject of heavy treatment during his previous two World Cup appearances.

    Across the 2014 and 2018 World Cups combined, Neymar was fouled a leading 44 times – or once every 21 minutes, more often than any other player impeded on at least 25 occasions.

    "If we want to celebrate the football we have to pay attention to the fouls, because they focus on specific players," Tite said. "This is a fact and it has to be stopped."

    Tite remains, however, confident that Neymar and Danilo will both return before Brazil's campaign in Qatar is over.

    "That's my opinion," he said. "Medically I am not in a position to speak but I do have the medical reports.

    "I can continue to say that not only about Neymar but also about Danilo. Both situations have changed, but we do believe both will be available to play.

    "We have to live day by day, deal with the possibilities. We have 26 players who have to be fit and in great shape, that's how we've been working. It shows why team spirit is important."

    When it was put to him that even without Neymar Brazil remain favourites to win the World Cup, Tite replied: "Neymar is an extraordinary talent, but we are also relying on our other players as well.

    "What I think about major talents is that they are players who do everything well and maybe in three opportunities they get them. Creativity is not constant.

    "This talent comes up only two, three times in a match and Neymar has that ability.

    "There are other players. An assist from Vinicius [Junior], or creativity when finishing a play from Richarlison, a header from Pedro, a chance for Gabriel Jesus, Raphinha… they have this ability."

© 2022 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.