Galtier credits Mbappe focus after 'very surprising' reports over PSG exit

By Sports Desk October 11, 2022

Christophe Galtier hailed the performance and focus of Kylian Mbappe against Benfica after "very surprising" reports emerged that the forward again wants to leave Paris Saint-Germain.

Mbappe gave PSG the lead at Parc des Princes on Tuesday, converting from the penalty spot in the first half to become the club's leading scorer in the Champions League.

Joao Mario subsequently responded with a spot-kick of his own after the interval, though the result seemingly paled insignificance after reports suggested Mbappe had demanded an exit from PSG.

The World Cup-winning 23-year-old only signed a new three-year extension in May but has reportedly become unsettled once more after a failure to meet his demands both tactically and in recruitment.

PSG football advisor Luis Campos emphatically denied those reports by claiming Mbappe had not informed the club of such intentions, while head coach Galtier also expressed confusion over the speculation.

"We talked a lot about him this afternoon. I didn't talk about it with him, the objective is to stay focused on the match," Galtier told RMC Sport after PSG were held to a 1-1 draw in the Group H encounter.

"He gave a lot, he showed that he is a great player, focused on the game and the competition. We were all focused on the goal and on the match.

"From the rumour, we make information and from information, we make a statement. I find that very surprising a few hours before a very important match..."

Mbappe's goal was not enough to secure progression to the Champions League knockout stages, though Benfica and PSG sit four points clear of Juventus and Maccabi Haifa at the Group H summit.

PSG will aim to secure qualification with two games left to play, sitting level on eight points with Roger Schmidt's side, though Galtier may be concerned after having to withdraw Mbappe in the closing stages.

"He took a nasty tackle, he has a knock. I preferred to make sure to bring on a fresh player," Galtier added.

"We can regret the penalty we conceded because the action was not dangerous. We lacked verticality in the final third.

"We have played high-intensity matches, obviously that generates tiredness, but fatigue is in everyone, it's not an excuse."

The stalemate left Benfica winless in away six Champions League games against French sides (D3 L3), scoring just two goals in these six games, though the Portuguese side deserve credit.

Schmidt's men are the first team to avoid defeat in both group stage games in the competition against PSG since the Ligue 1 side were twice held by Napoli in the 2018-19 season.

"It makes me proud, of course. The way the players are playing in these difficult games, we never gave up, we always believed in ourselves," Schmidt told Eleven Sport.

"When you can't win, you have to take a point. I said it after the first game and I repeat it now. I think it was a fair result, again. Playing two games like this against Paris says a lot about the quality and attitude of the players."

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