Pochettino relaxed over Mbappe injury

By Sports Desk April 24, 2021

Paris Saint-Germain superstar Kylian Mbappe is not thought to be in danger of missing Wednesday's Champions League semi-final first leg against Manchester City despite sustaining a knock on Saturday.

Mbappe scored two of PSG's goals in their straightforward 3-1 win at Metz, a victory that lifted the Parisians back to the top of the table – at least until Sunday.

Those goals took Mbappe to 19 goal involvements away from home this season, more than anyone else in Europe's top five leagues, while only Erling Haaland (10) and Robert Lewandowski (nine) have more braces.

It continued the France striker's hot streak, taking him to nine goals in seven league games having previously only netted four times in nine top-flight matches.

There was a cause for concern late on as Mbappe suffered what appeared to be a heavy blow to his knee, with the 22-year-old subsequently substituted.

But Pochettino is not worried about his star man, who would be a major miss against City.

"It's a blow to the quads," Pochettino told Canal Plus. "I don't think it's much, we hope it's not serious.

"I don't think he's in danger for Wednesday. It's just a blow. It does not give us that impression [that he'll miss the City game].

"Kylian was calm at the time of his substitution, even though the blow was painful."

Marco Verratti, who also assured fans regarding Mbappe, felt that winning on Saturday was vital for ensuring a positive mentality going into the City clash and keeping the pressure on title rivals Lille, who face fourth-placed Lyon on Sunday.

"You have to win if you want to win this title," the Italy international said. "We want to win as many games as possible.

"I think we are having a good run. We are happy with what we have done so far.

"We are on our way to winning all the titles. We are coming into this match [City game] in the best possible way. We know that we meet a team like us who can also achieve a treble.

"They have confidence in themselves. It's going to be a nice game. We know that we have to be 100 per cent.

"We are there, we are ready. We will fight for 90 minutes on Wednesday. Then we will move on to the return leg."

Related items

  • Smith Rowe ruled out until December after undergoing surgery Smith Rowe ruled out until December after undergoing surgery

    Arsenal midfielder Emile Smith Rowe has been ruled out of action until December after undergoing an operation on his groin.

    The 22-year-old played in 33 of Arsenal's 38 Premier League games last season – only three outfield players featured more regularly – but he has struggled for minutes this term.

    Smith Rowe has not started any of league leaders Arsenal's opening seven matches in the competition and has totalled just 48 minutes on the pitch.

    He has been struggling with a persistent groin issue, which was aggravated in the 3-1 loss to Manchester United earlier this month, and it was decided he would undergo surgery.

    Arsenal confirmed on Thursday that Smith Rowe is facing a long spell on the sidelines, effectively ruling him out until the final fortnight of the year due to the break for the World Cup, a tournament the England international is now certain to miss.

    "In recent months, Emile Smith Rowe has been experiencing discomfort in his groin, which has limited his training and match appearances," the club statement read.

    "Following a significant setback at our Premier League match against Manchester United at Old Trafford on September 4, and after further specialist consultations and discussions with our medical team, Emile underwent surgery to repair a damaged tendon in his groin.

    "This successful surgery took place in London in the past few days and Emile’s rehabilitation programme is already under way. We are hopeful that Emile will return to full training in December.

    "Everyone at the club will now be supporting and working hard with Emile to get him back on the pitch as soon as possible."

    Smith Rowe has played 86 games for Arsenal in all competitions and has scored 18 times.

    The three-cap England international's shot conversion rate of 23.81 is the fourth best of any Premier League player to have scored at least 10 times since the start of last season.

    Arsenal return from the international break with a north London derby showdown against Tottenham on Saturday.

  • 'He will score goals as he did before' – Salah tipped to come good by former Liverpool star 'He will score goals as he did before' – Salah tipped to come good by former Liverpool star

    Mohamed Salah and Liverpool are ready to throw off the shackles and show their best form after a slow start to the season, according to former Reds winger Albert Riera.

     

    Salah shared the Golden Boot with Tottenham's Son Heung-min in England last season, and fell just shy of capturing the Premier League title with Jurgen Klopp's side.

    But, like Liverpool collectively, the Egyptian forward has found the going tough so far this term.

    Just two goals and two assists – a modest return by Salah's standards – have come amid a slow start for both player and club, with Liverpool perched in eighth place.

    Defending champions Manchester City are vying with Arsenal and Tottenham for top spot.

    Riera, who spent two years with Liverpool from 2008 to 2010 following a brief spell with City, believes Salah can still turn the corner and rediscover his best form.

    "For sure, 100 per cent," Riera told Stats Perform. "He is focused on scoring goals, he wants to score goals, he wants to play well, and he wants to do his best.

    "But we also have to understand this level of player, the rest want to stop them. This is extra motivation for a defender to play against Mo, that he is not scoring goals.

    "It is not easy to play against defenders because they are so motivated, and they want to stop them. But I'm sure he will score goals as he did before."

    With the season almost two months old, Liverpool already face a fight to close the gap on City, with an eight-point gap between the two sides heading into this weekend.

    Liverpool have a game in hand, and former Spain international Riera remains positive the Reds can catch up, but he remains in awe of their rivals' success under Pep Guardiola.

    "Man City have been at this level already for many years," Riera said. "But they are a machine at creating chances. Even if you put the bus at the back, you will concede chances.

    "Playing against Man City, I don't know how I would prepare this game. They're a team that have clear ideas and [are] difficult to beat. But I [think] Liverpool can fight them.

    "I'm sure now that they are on their way back, and I'm sure they will fight at the end with Man City for the title."

  • Moura hopes 'amazing' Spurs star Son keeps on scoring as Arsenal derby beckons Moura hopes 'amazing' Spurs star Son keeps on scoring as Arsenal derby beckons

    Lucas Moura believes Son Heung-min's barren spell for Tottenham was "bothering him a lot" but insists the South Korean's influence extends far beyond his goals.

    Son failed to find the net in Spurs' opening six Premier League matches of the season before hitting a hat-trick as a substitute against Leicester City before the international break.

    Prior to that, Son was disappointed with his impact in the team and made no secret of his frustration, saying that until his treble he felt he had been disappointing his colleagues.

    "It's on him. 'Letting the team down' is a very strong phrase. I don't particularly analyse the goals or only the numbers, I see what the guy contributes to the team during the 90 minutes," Moura said.

    "Even a striker can contribute a lot throughout the game and not score any goals or do any assists. Son is a very dynamic guy, he bothers the opposing defender a lot, he's always running, he's always moving behind the defender's back and that opens up a lot of space for the other attackers.

    "So, he is a very important guy even when he doesn't score. Of course, there is this personal pressure on him, he puts a lot of pressure on himself.

    "We end up feeling that, because we see how much he wanted to score a goal, how much he wanted to score the first time this season, and we end up trying to help even more. But he's a very important guy for the team even when he doesn't score."

    Any concern regarding Son's impact in front of goal has decreased following his flurry against Leicester, which left Moura delighted for his team-mate.

    "I was very happy for him. Talking about him off the pitch, he's amazing, a great friend that football gave me, loved by everyone," Moura told Stats Perform.

    "On the pitch, I don't even need to talk about his quality. We know that for a guy like him who is used to scoring goals, staying a few games without scoring goals is difficult, the pressure comes, the press comments, the buzz of the crowd, and I believe it was bothering him a lot.

    "And he felt relieved with three goals, three amazing goals in all his qualities, in his characteristic. He is a fundamental player for the team, a guy who really makes a difference, and I hope he continues like that now, scoring goals every game to help us."

    Son breaking his duck against Leicester may be of concern to Arsenal before Saturday's north London derby, with the 30-year-old having managed four goals and two assists in his last five games against the Gunners.

© 2022 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.