Mauricio Pochettino knew it was only a matter of time before Kylian Mbappe returned to goalscoring form after netting a brace in Paris Saint-Germain's 4-0 rout of Montpellier.

Mbappe had been criticised following four games without a goal for PSG, and just two in his previous eight matches across all competitions.

But Mbappe responded to his critics with two goals and an assist as Ligue 1 champions PSG eased past 10-man Montpellier in Paris on Friday.

Mbappe is decisive every 58 minutes this season in Ligue 1 (14 goals and six assists) – the best ratio among players involved in more than one goal, per Opta. This is the first time he has been involved in three goals in the same league game (two goals and one assist) since February 2020 (against Dijon).

"I was happy before with his performance because his compromise, but also now that he has scored," PSG head coach Pochettino told reporters.

"We know that for a forward, to score goals or give assists it is fundamental, is part to generate this confidence that they need. So we are happy.

"We knew it was only a matter of time for Kylian to find himself again with the goal and the good performances."

After Montpellier goalkeeper Jonas Omlin was sent off in the 19th minute, Mbappe broke the deadlock 15 minutes later before teeing up star team-mate Neymar on the hour in the French capital.

PSG forward Mauro Icardi made it 3-0 a minute later, and Mbappe completed the scoring in the 63rd minute as the league leaders moved three points clear atop the table, with Lille due to play Rennes.

It was the first time in PSG's history that they scored three goals in the space of three minutes (three minutes and nine seconds exactly) in a Ligue 1 game.

Neymar and Mbappe have combined for 21 goals in Ligue 1 since 2017-18 – only the duos of Luis Suarez-Lionel Messi (31), Harry Kane-Son Heung-min (21) and Robert Lewandowski-Thomas Muller (25) have combined for more over the period.

Since his world-record arrival from Barcelona in 2017, Neymar has been involved in one Ligue 1 goal every 66 minutes (51 goals and 29 assists) – the best ratio among players involved in more than one goal over the period.

Neymar has scored 81 goals in 100 games in all competitions for PSG, but Pochettino praised the Brazilian's defensive contribution.

"I believe that the defensive and offensive balance is very important on every team," Pochettino said. "When you have so much talent inside the pitch, players so destabilising, you also run the risk of losing this defensive stability which is so much needed to compete in really big occasions.

"When the level of your opponent can be compared to you, the difference is not only made in the offensive phase, but if you are capable to defend and be able to recover the ball as soon as possible.

"I am happy too with the effort that Neymar has been doing in the last weeks. It is a player with an enormous amount of compromise. It makes us really happy but we already know what he does with the ball on his feet, but when he does this effort to help the team, that talks very well about him."

Kylian Mbappe said he is considering a new long-term contract with Ligue 1 champions Paris Saint-Germain.

The 22-year-old forward ended a four-game goal drought on Friday, scoring twice and setting up another as Mauricio Pochettino's side beat Montpellier 4-0.

The France star's future has come under scrutiny during a recent loss of form, with his deal set to expire at the end of next season.

Sporting director Leonardo confirmed to France Football this week that he was confident Mbappe and team-mate Neymar would agree to fresh terms at Parc des Princes.

Mbappe, who has been linked with clubs including Real Madrid and Liverpool, said he would commit to a new deal if he decided his long-term future would be best spent in the French capital.

"We are talking with the club," he told Telefoot. "I am also reflecting on it. If I sign, it will be to invest myself in the long term here.

"I feel good here. I will soon have to make a decision. If I extend, it's so that I stay."

Mbappe was the star performer in the win over 10-man Montpellier, PSG's fourth in a row in all competitions and their third in succession without conceding in Ligue 1.

The champions have enjoyed an encouraging start to life under coach Mauricio Pochettino, who replaced Thomas Tuchel this month.

"I'm really satisfied; it was a great game," said Angel Di Maria. "We had a lot of chances that we managed to take.

"We have to adapt to a new football, but it's going well physically, and that's very important."

Kylian Mbappe scored two and set up another as Paris Saint-Germain beat Montpellier 4-0 in Ligue 1 on Friday.

Having faced recent questions over his form and focus, Mbappe responded with a decisive display at Parc des Princes to help Mauricio Pochettino's men to three points.

Mbappe broke the deadlock after Montpellier goalkeeper Jonas Omlin had earlier been sent off for fouling the France star, and he set up Neymar to mark his 100th PSG appearance with the second goal.

Mauro Icardi and Mbappe added two further goals within three minutes as the champions eased to a routine win, their fourth in a row by at least four goals against Michel Der Zakarian's side.

Montpellier, six games without a win in Ligue 1 before this contest, were left with a huge task when Omlin flattened Mbappe following a stunning throughball from Leandro Paredes, with a VAR review leading to the keeper's dismissal.

PSG eventually capitalised on their dominance 34 minutes in, Neymar and Angel Di Maria each playing decisive passes before Mbappe clipped a cool finish over substitute keeper Dimitry Bertaud.

It was Mbappe's 13th league goal of the season and the 13th time he has been assisted by Di Maria in the competition.

Neymar almost doubled the lead before the break but was thwarted by a good save from Bertaud, who then denied Mauro Icardi acrobatically early in the second period.

The second goal came on the hour mark, though, Mbappe teeing up Neymar for a simple finish after a fine lofted pass from Marco Verratti.

With the floodgates suddenly open, PSG scored a further two goals inside three minutes, Icardi drilling high into the net after good work from Alessandro Florenzi and then setting up Mbappe for a routine finish after Neymar led a quick break.

Bertaud did manage to deny Layvin Kurzawa a stunning fifth, tipping the full-back's bicycle kick onto the crossbar.

 

David Beckham says playing with Kylian Mbappe "would have been a dream" after the Paris Saint-Germain superstar netted his 100th goal for the club.

The 21-year-old, who joined PSG from domestic rivals Monaco in August 2017, reached the milestone with a stoppage-time effort against Montpellier on Saturday.

The century strike came in just Mbappe's 137th match and further landmarks will surely follow for the World Cup winner.

Beckham, who finished his career at PSG in 2013, wishes he was still playing and able to help Mbappe chase down record goalscorer Edinson Cavani (200)

The former England captain registered two assists from six chances created in his 10 Ligue 1 games (311 minutes played), but Mbappe might also have improved his own statistics.

"I would have loved to still be a player now, because playing with a forward like Kylian would have been a dream to me," Inter Miami owner Beckham told Telefoot.

"You put the ball anywhere in front of him and he gets it."

Mbappe has averaged a goal every 89 minutes for PSG in Ligue 1, netting 74 of his 100 goals in that competition.

There have been another 13 in the Champions League, although the striker has not netted in Europe in 2020, even as PSG reached last season's final.

Paris Saint-Germain head coach Thomas Tuchel lauded Kylian Mbappe following his 100th goal for the Ligue 1 champions.

Mbappe celebrated a milestone goal as PSG claimed a 3-1 win over Montpellier at Stade de la Mosson on Saturday.

PSG star Mbappe had been stuck on 99 goals across all competitions since November 20, but he finally joined the illustrious century club – which only includes Pauleta (109), Zlatan Ibrahimovic (156) and Edinson Cavani (200) – away to Montpellier.

Tuchel hailed the rumoured Real Madrid and Liverpool target post-match, telling reporter: "As I said after Manchester, he did a great game [in 3-1 Champions League victory over United].

"Against Manchester, he gave everything for the team. He did other games where he scored, and I wasn't happy enough with him. But after Manchester, I was very happy because he gave a lot of intensity, a lot of sprints, and a lot of efforts without the ball.

"If he keeps working like that, I'm sure we will give him some chances to score. Today, I can only say congratulations.

"The boy is always decisive. Every striker needs to score. And I hope it will continue on Tuesday."

PSG returned to winning ways, having only picked up one point from their previous two Ligue 1 fixtures against Bordeaux (2-2 draw) and Monaco (3-2 defeat).

Colin Dagba put visitors PSG ahead in the 33rd minute before Montpellier's Stephy Mavididi equalised four minutes prior to half-time.

Moises Kean – who has scored five goals in his last six Ligue 1 games, as many as his previous 40 league games – restored PSG's lead with 13 minutes remaining before Mbappe came off the bench and sealed the points in the first minute of stoppage time.

"I am very happy because it's not easy to find the rhythm, to play in this structure, and with many different players. But after 15 minutes, we find the good tempo," said Tuchel, whose PSG have failed to score only once in their past 39 away encounters in Ligue 1.

"We did a good game with the ball, and without the ball. We never lost our focus, our discipline with the ball and without the ball. Thanks to that, it was possible to win.

"It's always difficult to win in Montpellier, because they have a lot of qualities. It's a good victory."

PSG top the standings by four points ahead of Marseille, though they have played two games more than their rivals.

Kylian Mbappe felt liberated after he ended his wait to move onto a century of goals for Paris Saint-Germain.

France prodigy Mbappe reached 99 goals across all competitions for PSG when he scored a double against his former club Monaco in a 3-2 defeat on November 20.

He failed to find the net in three appearances – against RB Leipzig, Bordeaux and Manchester United – before adding gloss to a 3-1 win over Montpellier in Ligue 1 on Saturday.

With Moise Kean having thumped PSG into the lead in the 77th minute, Mbappe came on to score with his only attempt and wrap up the points for Thomas Tuchel's side in stoppage time.

The 21-year-old has netted 74 of his 100 PSG goals in France's top flight, with a further 13 strikes coming in the Champions League, though he has not scored in Europe in nine matches.

His remaining 13 goals have come in France's domestic cup competitions and the Trophee des Champions, while he has only scored from outside the box in Ligue 1 on three occasions.

"I knew my statistics, yes. It had been a few matches that I wanted to score the 100th," he told Canal+.

"This one wasn't the hardest. It's a liberation, especially at a big club like this and all the great players who have been here. When I signed here, I never thought I'd score 100 goals so quickly. It was part of the distant objectives.

"Thank you to my team-mates and to the club for giving me confidence, whether in good times or bad. Thank you to everyone who works there.

"I think I can score even more, offer more assists. It will come with time. I'm feeling better and better and going through matches will allow me to be even better physically."

Mbappe is joint fourth, alongside Dominique Rocheteau, in the list of PSG's leading goalscorers, behind Pauleta (109), Zlatan Ibrahimovic (156) and Edinson Cavani (200).

"Score 200 goals with PSG? Who knows," said Mbappe, who has often been linked with a move to LaLiga giants Real Madrid and Barcelona. "I never would have thought of 100 goals! You just have to think about the next game.

"It's been three and a half years, and I've been through a lot here. It's great to have the support of the people."

Paris Saint-Germain returned to winning ways in Ligue 1 as a landmark strike from Kylian Mbappe put the seal on a 3-1 victory over Montpellier at Stade de la Mosson on Saturday. 

Thomas Tuchel's side had picked up just one point from their previous two top-flight games against Monaco and Bordeaux and they looked set for more disappointment after Stephy Mavididi had cancelled out Colin Dagba's opener before half-time. 

The champions sealed a fifth win in six games against their hosts in the final 13 minutes, though, with Moise Kean lashing home from an acute angle and Mbappe coming off the bench to tap in from close range for his 100th PSG goal.

The result means PSG are four points ahead of Marseille at the league summit, although Andre Villas-Boas' side have played two games fewer.

PSG, who rested Neymar, started sluggishly and scarcely got close to Jonas Omlin's goal inside the opening half an hour.

They belatedly woke from their slumber and forged ahead after 33 minutes, Dagba sliding home his first professional goal from eight yards following superb work down the left from Angel Di Maria.

Montpellier responded before the interval, though, courtesy of Mavididi's third goal of the season. The former Juventus forward's initial shot was blocked by Dagba, but he squeezed his follow-up effort over the line despite the best efforts of Keylor Navas.

And only a fine stop from Navas prevented Mavididi from adding a second from close range before half-time.

On-loan Everton striker Kean had two presentable chances to restore PSG's lead in the early stages of the second half, but his finishes lacked precision.

Di Maria was denied what would have been a wonderful individual goal in the 67th minute by a smart save from Omlin, but Kean got the better of the Montpellier goalkeeper 10 minutes later, thundering into the roof of the net from eight yards.

Mbappe then added gloss to the scoreline, sliding home Layvin Kurzawa's low ball in stoppage time for his 10th league goal of the campaign, bringing up a century in PSG colours.

What does it mean? PSG's finishing proves to be the difference

Montpellier's 17 shots on goal is evidence that PSG did not have it all their own way.

Had the hosts managed to get more than just two of them on target, Tuchel's men might not have had the chance late on to seal all three points through Kean and Mbappe.

The visitors, meanwhile, will point to the fact they had 13 shots of their own and enjoyed almost 65 per cent possession as proof they were good value for the win.

Di Maria impresses for PSG

He did not get on the scoresheet, but the Argentina international was comfortably PSG's brightest spark. He teed up Dagba's opener with a fine low ball into the box – one of four key passes – took three shots and put in six crosses, which was twice as many as any other visiting player. 

Herrera off the pace

Ander Herrera was a long way from his tenacious best and it came as little surprise to see him hauled off shortly after the hour mark. The former Manchester United man won just two of his six duels, lost possession 12 times and failed to play any key passes to his team-mates.

What's next?

PSG take on Istanbul Basaksehir on Tuesday knowing a draw will be good enough to qualify for the Champions League last 16. They follow that with a home clash against Lyon on Sunday, a day after Montpellier travel to Lens.

Paris Saint-Germain returned to winning ways in Ligue 1 as a landmark strike from Kylian Mbappe put the seal on a 3-1 victory over Montpellier at Stade de la Mosson on Saturday. 

Thomas Tuchel's side had picked up just one point from their previous two top-flight games against Monaco and Bordeaux and they looked set for more disappointment after Stephy Mavididi had cancelled out Colin Dagba's opener before half-time. 

The champions sealed a fifth win in six games against their hosts in the final 13 minutes, though, with Moise Kean lashing home from an acute angle and Mbappe coming off the bench to tap in from close range for his 100th PSG goal.

The result means PSG are four points ahead of Marseille at the league summit, although Andre Villas-Boas' side have played two games fewer.

PSG, who rested Neymar, started sluggishly and scarcely got close to Jonas Omlin's goal inside the opening half an hour.

They belatedly woke from their slumber and forged ahead after 33 minutes, Dagba sliding home his first professional goal from eight yards following superb work down the left from Angel Di Maria.

Montpellier responded before the interval, though, courtesy of Mavididi's third goal of the season. The former Juventus forward's initial shot was blocked by Dagba, but he squeezed his follow-up effort over the line despite the best efforts of Keylor Navas.

And only a fine stop from Navas prevented Mavididi from adding a second from close range before half-time.

On-loan Everton striker Kean had two presentable chances to restore PSG's lead in the early stages of the second half, but his finishes lacked precision.

Di Maria was denied what would have been a wonderful individual goal in the 67th minute by a smart save from Omlin, but Kean got the better of the Montpellier goalkeeper 10 minutes later, thundering into the roof of the net from eight yards.

Mbappe then added gloss to the scoreline, sliding home Layvin Kurzawa's low ball in stoppage time for his 10th league goal of the campaign.

Thomas Tuchel is pleased with Kylian Mbappe's recent form but says he will consider leaving the forward out of Paris Saint-Germain's squad for Saturday's trip to Montpellier.

The France international wasted a good chance in Wednesday's 3-1 win over Manchester United as his scoreless streak in the Champions League stretched to a ninth game. 

He is also without a goal in his past three appearances for PSG, failing to score from any of his nine shots in those games and finding the target only twice.

PSG face a huge clash with Istanbul Basaksehir next Tuesday, knowing that they are guaranteed a place in the last 16 should they avoid defeat.

And with that contest in mind, Tuchel will consider leaving out Mbappe for this weekend's Ligue 1 meeting against Montpellier.

"We will have to decide on that today," Tuchel said at Friday's pre-match news conference. "In my head there are several different possibilities.

"We have to make decisions for Tuesday as well. We may have some changes to make. But for Kylian personally, I am calm.

"For me he had a good game [against United], a better game than in matches he has scored in. He put in a lot of effort both in an attacking and defensive sense.

"He had a bit of bad luck with his chance, but it will come for him. He should stay calm because I am also very calm."

Neymar scored twice at Old Trafford in a result that may effectively keep under-fire Tuchel in a job, the French giants now firm favourites to advance through to the knockouts.

Comments made by Neymar after the game proved a bigger talking point than Tuchel's future as he talked of his desire to be reunited with Lionel Messi next year.

That has only intensified speculation that Neymar's ex-Barcelona team-mate Messi could be on his way to the French capital, but Tuchel was unwilling to discuss the rumours.

He said: "That is not something I can talk about. I haven't discussed it with Neymar yet, either. I have a lot of respect for Barcelona and for Messi so I will not comment."

PSG make the trip to Montpellier on a two-game winless streak in the league, following up a 3-2 away defeat to Monaco with a 2-2 draw at home to Bordeaux last weekend.

The reigning champions have not lost two successive away games in the top flight since December 2016, with one of those defeats coming at Stade de la Mosson.

Indeed, Montpellier have won two of their last four home Ligue 1 games against PSG, but Tuchel suggested the visit of Basaksehir next week takes priority for his side.

"We will look to respond but we have to accept that we also have a very important game on Tuesday," he said. "I need to find a solution to my team selection.

"It's always tough for us against Montpellier. That is something we need to change, while accepting we have another game on Tuesday.

"We have to accept that for this match there will be decisions made with Basaksehir in mind."

PSG, who announced on Friday that teenage defender Timothee Pembele has signed a new deal until 2024, will definitely be without Pablo Sarabia, Mauro Icardi and Juan Bernat this weekend, while Julian Draxler will be assessed.

Montpellier have revealed 12 positive COVID-19 cases in their ranks ahead of Sunday's Ligue 1 trip to Monaco.

Eight players and four staff members were found to have the coronavirus when tested on Thursday, the club said. Montpellier did not name any of those affected.

In a statement issued on Friday, Montpellier said: "Tests carried out yesterday revealed eight positive cases among the players and four among the staff.

"New tests were carried out this morning with the entire group. The 12 positive people [from Thursday's tests] were isolated as provided for in the health protocol."

Montpellier have won three of their opening six matches this season, taking 10 points to sit fifth in the table heading into the seventh round of games.

The game at Monaco looks set to go ahead if no further cases in the Montpellier ranks come to light.

The Ligue de Football Professionnel stated in September that matches in France's top division should still be played providing that 20 players, including a goalkeeper, have tested negative from a 30-man squad.

Hilton became the first 43-year-old to play in Ligue 1 in 64 years, but the Montpellier captain was sent off against Lyon on Tuesday.

Not since former Troyes striker Roger Courtois, aged 44, in June 1956 had a player over the age of 43 featured in France's top flight.

Montpellier defender Hilton followed in the footsteps of Courtois during the week, but the Brazilian marked the occasion by receiving a red card in the club's 2-1 win over Lyon.

Hilton – the oldest player to play in the top five European leagues since Marco Ballotta (44) in 2008 – was dismissed for a second bookable offence with nine minutes remaining after conceding a penalty, which Barcelona target and Lyon captain Memphis Depay converted.

Montpellier were already leading courtesy of a Teji Savanier brace that ensured the French side moved fifth on six points from three games, two clear of 2019-20 Champions League semi-finalists Lyon.

Hilton has called Montpellier home since arriving from Ligue 1 rivals Marseille in 2011, winning the league title during his first season at Stade de la Mosson.

The former Chapecoense and Lens centre-back also claimed Ligue 1 glory with Marseille in 2009-10.

Montpellier have confirmed the signing of South Africa scrum-half Cobus Reinach on a three-year deal.

The 2019 Rugby World Cup winner was reported to be bound for France when he announced he would leave Northampton Saints at the end of this season back in January.

With the Premiership not resuming until August at the earliest due to the coronavirus pandemic and Reinach's contract expiring at the end of June, the 30-year-old has played his last game for Saints.

Montpellier on Friday announced that Reinach will showcase his talents in the Top 14.

"Cobus is a world champion, with outstanding athletic qualities," said Montpellier coach Xavier Garbajosa.

"He is very skilled, both in kicking and passing."

Reinach, who spent three years with Northampton, has been capped 14 times by the Springboks and made two appearances in their World Cup triumph in Japan last year.

France full-back Anthony Bouthier has signed a two-year contract extension with Montpellier.

Bouthier joined Montpellier from Pro D2 outfit Vannes last year and continued his rapid rise by making his Test debut in the Six Nations opener against England in February.

The 27-year-old started all four matches in the competition before it was suspended with Les Bleus second in the table, behind England on points difference.

Montpellier on Monday announced they have rewarded the rapid Bouthier for an outstanding start to his time at the club.

Bouthier, now contracted until 2023, said: "I am very happy to extend my contract for two more seasons. Thank you to the staff and managers for trusting me.

"I feel great in this city and in the club. I made the choice to stay because it is the MHR which made me discover the highest level and which gives me confidence.

"It is also a club which plays the leading roles each year and which has ambitions to raise its first Brennus Shield [awarded to the French champions].

"Now I can't wait to get back to the field and the team-mates to have a great season, hoping to play in front of our supporters."

Full-back Benjamin Fall is the latest player to leave Top 14 side Montpellier.

Fall joined Montpellier from Racing 92 in 2014 and has played 99 games for the club, but he will not reach three figures.

The 31-year-old, capped 14 times by France, joins the likes of Nemani Nadolo in leaving Montpellier.

Fall won the European Challenge Cup in 2016 and was a Top 14 runner-up two years ago during his six-year stay.

He told the club's official website: "I will have a word for each of the people I have come into contact with in this club during these six years which have been exceptional, rich in learning, positive or negative emotions, questioning, sharing, laughter, crying, doubts, advice etc.

"I have never cheated, always given everything for this club. I hope I have demonstrated it."

Fall had no news of where he will be playing next season.

Montpellier president Laurent Nicollin has urged Ligue 1 clubs not to appeal against the decision to end the season.

He added: "If we finished last… I would have shut my mouth."

The Ligue de Football Professionnel (LFP) announced on Thursday the final standings had been decided on a points-per-game basis after French prime minister Edouard Philippe banned all sporting events until September due to the coronavirus pandemic.

While Paris Saint-Germain were crowned champions, Amiens and Toulouse were relegated to Ligue 2 and are expected to challenge the decision.

Lyon also stated they could launch an appeal because finishing seventh means they need to win the Coupe de France final against PSG or the Champions League in order to avoid a first season without European football since 1996-97.

It is hoped the 2020-21 season will begin on August 22/23 and Nicollin warned clubs against delaying that more than necessary.

"If there are legal challenges in the coming weeks we may not be paid the next TV rights, which could trigger a new crisis," Nicollin told Le Figaro.

"I'm going to be told, 'If you were Toulouse or Amiens you would do it too.' I do know [what I would do]. If we finished last, with a certain decency, I would have shut my mouth.

"I think like that today. With old age maybe I am becoming a big jerk."

He added: "This decision does not solve the problem because in two or three months we may find ourselves in a difficult situation, until we have a vaccine.

"But we are trying everything so that 2020-21 starts in the best possible way.

"2019-20 had to be sacrificed rather than the opposite."

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