Kylian Mbappe was influential again as he scored one and set up another to help Paris Saint-Germain maintain the pressure on Ligue 1 leaders Lille with a commanding 4-1 win at Strasbourg.

A 1-0 defeat at home to the leaders coupled with Lille's 2-0 win over Metz left Mauricio Pochettino's men six points adrift heading into the match at Stade de la Meinau.

But Mbappe backed up a double in PSG's fine 3-2 first-leg triumph at Bayern Munich in their Champions League quarter-final tie with his 21st Ligue 1 goal of the season.

That preceded efforts from Pablo Sarabia – his third in four games – and Moise Kean before the break, with Dion Moise Sahi replying for the hosts prior to Leandro Paredes executing a fine free-kick to wrap up the points.

For all their domination of the ball, PSG were almost caught cold when Adrien Thomasson's 30-yard thunderbolt cannoned off the left post.

But PSG were ahead after 16 minutes when Mbappe showed Lamine Kone a clean pair of heels and drilled a left-foot shot through Matz Sels' legs from a tight angle.

The lead was doubled by Sarabia, who turned brilliantly after collecting Danilo Pereira's pass, shimmied past Kone and rolled coolly past Sels.

Kean made sure of the points before the break with a clinical finish from Mbappe's poked throughball.

The Everton loanee forced Sels into a save on the hour but it was Strasbourg who scored next, Sahi forcing his shot pass Sergio Rico – on for Keylor Navas at half-time – from Jean-Ricner Bellegarde's right-wing cross just 73 seconds after entering the fray.

Sanjin Prcic curled one just wide of the left post for Strasbourg, but Paredes picked out the right side of the goal from 30 yards to complete the win from a set-piece won by another marauding Mbappe run.

What does it mean? Rotation works for Poch

With this fixture sandwiched by the Bayern games, Pochettino made seven changes to his starting XI but the move paid dividends.

PSG's defeat to Lille marked the first time they had lost three straight home Ligue 1 matches since 2007 and their eight losses after 31 games in the top flight prior to this match represented the most at this stage of a campaign since 2009-10.

But a fifth straight away league win keeps the pressure on Lille and maintains the momentum ahead of the return fixture against Bayern.

Marvellous Mbappe

Mbappe has hinted in recent weeks that a decision on his long-term future will be taken at the end of the season.

PSG will desperately hope their rapid forward decides to remain in the French capital after another sensational week that included the crucial brace against Bayern.

In Ligue 1 this term, he now has 13 goals and four assists away from home, while he has netted in four straight matches away from the Parc des Princes in the top flight.

Kone caught flat-footed

Strasbourg threatened a couple of times but in general just did not consistently have the quality to compete.

Kone particularly struggled, being left behind by both Mbappe and Sarabia for PSG's first two goals.

What's next?

PSG will now try and attempt to complete the job in their Champions League quarter-final tie against Bayern Munich on Tuesday. Strasbourg visit strugglers Nimes a week on Sunday.

Kylian Mbappe scored twice and Pablo Sarabia was also on target as Paris Saint-Germain saw off fellow Ligue 1 side Brest 3-0 to book their place in the last 16 of the Coupe de France.

The holders were given a tough time of things in their 1-0 win against Caen in the previous round but made light work of Saturday's clash at Stade Francis-Le Ble.

Sarabia fired in his sixth goal of the campaign shortly before half-time after Mbappe had opened the scoring inside nine minutes with an impressive solo strike that saw him carry the ball half the length of the field.

Mbappe doubled his personal tally for the day with an unorthodox chested finish to ensure comfortable passage through for PSG, who made it three wins in a row heading into Wednesday's Champions League last-16 second leg with Barcelona.

Mbappe also scored a brace in last week's comfortable Ligue 1 win at Dijon and picked up from where he left off with the opener against opponents positioned 13th in the French top flight.

The France international received the ball just inside the opposition half, carried it to the edge of the penalty area and picked out the top-left corner with a thunderous strike that left Sebastien Cibois rooted to the spot.

Mbappe was denied a second by the inside of the post when played in by Marco Verratti but PSG, who survived a penalty scare after Romain Philippoteaux went down under contact from Abdou Diallo and Mitchel Bakker, soon had a second goal.

Julian Draxler took the ball past a couple of opponents and teed up Sarabia to fire away from Cibois, adding to the goal he scored against Brest in PSG's 3-0 league win when the sides last met in January.

Cibois denied Mbappe from a one-on-one early in the second half and that sparked Brest into life, with Bandiougou Fadiga testing Sergio Rico with a couple of attempts in the space of a minute, the second requiring Ander Herrera to block the ball on the line.

But the hosts' hopes of a comeback were ended 17 minutes from time as Verratti's pass ricocheted off the chest of Mbappe and trickled in from a few yards out.

Paris Saint-Germain returned to winning ways in Ligue 1 with a 3-0 victory over bottom side Nimes at the Parc des Princes on Wednesday. 

The champions suffered a shock 3-2 loss to lowly Lorient on Sunday - their first defeat under Mauricio Pochettino - but responded with a comfortable victory on home soil. 

Star man Angel Di Maria profited from a terrible Lamine Fomba error to open the scoring and then crossed for Pablo Sarabia to add a second before half-time. 

Kylian Mbappe scored a stunning third goal for PSG, who were without the suspended Neymar, but they remain third in the table as leaders Lille and second-place Lyon also triumphed.

Moise Kean clipped the outside of the post with a header from 10 yards but PSG were ahead seven minutes later through Di Maria's composed finish. 

Nimes midfielder Fomba played the ball straight to Di Maria's feet and the Argentina international fired away from Baptiste Reynet after teeing himself up. 

The home side nearly had a second soon after when Presnel Kimpembe headed a corner back across goal and Thilo Kehrer turned it against the underside of the crossbar. 

But Sarabia did manage to double his team's tally nine minutes before the interval, heading Di Maria's right-sided cross into the bottom-right corner from five yards. 

Fomba was denied by Sergio Rico as he tried to make amends for his earlier error, while Anthony Briancon and Renaud Ripart also had attempts saved by the stand-in PSG keeper. 

Nimes continued to ask questions of their opponents but the game was put out of their reach by Mbappe, who curled a shot past a stranded Reynet to seal the win. 

Mauricio Pochettino insists there is still room for improvement from his Paris Saint-Germain side after brushing aside Brest 3-0 on Saturday.

Second-half substitutes Mauro Icardi and Pablo Sarabia added to Moise Kean's opener as the reigning Ligue 1 champions ran out comfortable winners at the Parc des Princes.

The win, coming three days on from a 1-1 draw with Saint-Etienne in Pochettino's first game in charge, moves PSG within a point of leaders Lyon, who were held 2-2 by Rennes.

But despite the comfortable manner of the scoreline, Pochettino - named as Thomas Tuchel's successor last week - accepts there are still things to work on.

"We are satisfied with the result, it is the fruit of the effort of all the players," he told Canal+.

"But there is still a lot we have to correct. We must continue to work with high standards."

Kylian Mbappe fired a blank for the third time in four outings, failing to find the net from any of his three shots on target - more than any other player on the field.

But the France forward claimed an impressive assist for Sarabia's goal by taking the ball past a couple of opponents and teeing up his team-mate.

He cut a frustrated figure at times but Pochettino is pleased with Mbappe's overall display.

"Mbappe has done good things," Pochettino said. "He had chances and it's a shame he didn't score. But he had a good game."

PSG had 60.9 per cent of the ball against Brest - compared to an average of 63.9 per cent under former boss Tuchel - and attempted 11 shots on target.

Sarabia, who netted his third league goal of the season 27 minutes after being brought off the bench, believes Pochettino's style of play is already clear to see just two games in.

"He wants us to have a lot of the ball and to knock the ball a lot to destabilise the opponent," he said.

"He asks us to do a lot of pressing, very high. It is very important to capture all the ideas of the coach to try to do the best possible. 

"There are things that are similar between Tuchel and Pochettino but there are things that are very different. We have to work because there are a lot of things that are new."

PSG now switch focus to Wednesday's Trophee des Champions clash with Marseille and a chance to win a first piece of silverware of the Pochettino tenure.

"It's a very special match for Paris and for me too," the former Tottenham boss said. 

"We hope to have a good match and to arrive in the best conditions to be competitive. And of course, like every time we play Marseille, we have to win."

Paris Saint-Germain saw off Brest 3-0 to collect their first victory under new head coach Mauricio Pochettino and close the gap on Ligue 1 leaders Lyon.

PSG were held to a 1-1 draw by Saint-Etienne in Pochettino's first game in charge on Wednesday but had too much quality for Brest in Saturday's encounter at the Parc des Princes.

Moise Kean's 11th goal of the campaign in all competitions set the reigning champions on their way with 16 minutes played and substitutes Mauro Icardi and Pablo Sarabia each got on the scoresheet in the final 10 minutes.

The win - less emphatic than the scoreline may suggest - moved Pochettino's men within a point of pacesetters Lyon, who battled back from two goals down to draw 2-2 with Rennes and retain top spot.

Kylian Mbappe scored one and set up another as Paris Saint-Germain extended their winning Ligue 1 run to seven matches with a 3-0 victory over Nantes on Saturday.

PSG were without injured forward Neymar and that told in a poor first half as the visitors failed to register an attempt on target until the 47th minute when Ander Herrera swept home.

Nantes were unfortunate not to be a goal ahead at that point, Moses Simon somehow missing an open goal from all of three yards at the Stade de la Beaujoire.

Mbappe added a second from a penalty he won and Pablo Sarabia profited from a defensive error late on to seal the win, but only after Keylor Navas had kept out Kader Bamba's penalty at a delicate point in the game.

Kylian Mbappe scored twice as depleted Paris Saint-Germain cruised to a 4-0 victory at 10-man Nimes to go top of Ligue 1. 

PSG had a long list of absentees, including Neymar, Angel Di Maria and Mauro Icardi at Stade des Costieres on Friday, yet they eased to a fifth consecutive victory. 

Loick Landre gave the champions a helping hand when he was sent off against his former club for catching impressive debutant Rafinha with a high boot just 12 minutes in. 

Mbappe opened the scoring in the first half and added his fourth goal in as many Ligue 1 games late on after Alessandro Florenzi nodded in the second, with Pablo Sarabia rounding out the scoring in the closing stages. 

Florenzi also struck the woodwork twice, while Moise Kean hit the crossbar and ought to have marked his debut with at least one goal during a game that saw Baptiste Reynet prevent Nimes from suffering an even bigger hammering. 

Leandro Paredes was forced off after he was caught by a Lucas Deaux, who was perhaps fortune to only be booked, so Ander Herrera made an early appearance off the bench.  

Nimes were a man down soon after, though, when Landre was dismissed by busy referee Clement Turpin for rashly catching Rafinha.  

Reynet produced a magnificent save to palm Herrera's downward header wide, but Mbappe rounded the keeper superbly before slotting home 32 minutes in after he was picked out by Rafinha.  

Kean had already passed up a couple of opportunities before Reynet tipped his tame effort around the post when the striker should have scored, while Idrissa Gueye and Mbappe had headers saved before the break. 

Nimes were chasing shadows and Florenzi volleyed against the post before nodding against the woodwork after Rafinha was replaced following an impressive bow. 

Florenzi was on hand to head in a second from close range 13 minutes from time, though, and Mbappe clinically added a third before Sarabia drilled home to complete an emphatic victory.

 

Kylian Mbappe scored twice as Paris Saint-Germain cruised to a 4-0 victory over Dijon on Saturday to re-establish their 13-point lead at the top of Ligue 1.

Spain midfielder Pablo Sarabia opened the scoring early in the game as he netted his ninth goal in all competitions since the start of 2020.

Mbappe added a second after the break with a composed finish before he set up substitute Mauro Icardi at the Parc des Princes.

France international Mbappe then put the gloss on the result in injury time when he tapped in his 18th league goal of the season after Julian Draxler's initial shot had been blocked.

Mauro Icardi's recent form is not concerning to Paris Saint-Germain coach Thomas Tuchel, who is also refusing to get worried about the contracts of key players running down.

Argentina striker Icardi joined PSG on loan from Inter at the start of the season and made a strong impact, swiftly taking Edinson Cavani's place in the starting XI.

He scored nine Ligue 1 goals before the mid-season break, but in recent weeks he has been a little less successful in front of goal.

Prior to netting against Nantes on Tuesday, Icardi had not scored in his past six matches across all competitions, despite two of those outings being against lower-league opposition in Lorient and Pau.

Tuchel remains optimistic about Icardi finding himself again, but hinted such struggles could benefit Cavani, who PSG prevented from leaving in the January transfer window.

"I hope he [Icardi] will regain his rhythm, his confidence and that he will score goals again," Tuchel told reporters on Saturday, ahead of Sunday's Ligue 1 clash with Lyon.

"But he remains an important player and we also see that Edi [Cavani] is also gaining in capacity."

Thomas Meunier and Thiago Silva have played 34 Ligue 1 games between them this season, with Tuchel considering them key components of his back four.

Both have contracts that are due to expire at the end of June, and while Tuchel insists renewals are not in his remit, he reiterated they are seen as vital players.

"I feel the players very confident, very strong," he said. "Thiago is my captain, nothing has changed, it's the same for Thomas.

"I see them as very professional players. Thomas plays a lot, he is super important for us. Both are awesome and I'm glad they're here, I don't think it [the contract situation] bothers [them].

"Contracts are not things that a coach decides. It happens between the agents, the families and the club too. There are several opinions, and for me it doesn't change anything.

"Thiago is my captain, Thomas is my right side right now because he shows that he has the qualities to play."

Tuchel was similarly glowing regarding Pablo Sarabia, who has proven a useful option since joining from Sevilla for a reported €20million.

"He's a guy who does his job well. He is extraordinary, he has the talent to play in our team," Tuchel added. "He is super decisive and brings something different to the team.

"It's good we have players like that. He's important to us and it's good because we need him. A strong team isn't just 11 players. We gained personality with him."

Pablo Sarabia's header 10 minutes from time ensured Paris Saint-Germain did just enough to beat Ligue 2 side Lorient 1-0 and book their place in the last 16 of the Coupe de France.

Thomas Tuchel's men were far from their best at Stade du Moustoir and extra-time appeared to be on the cards, but Sarabia was decisive in the 80th minute to end Lorient's hopes of an upset.

While Tuchel did use the opportunity to rest some of his key players, PSG still had an exceptionally strong starting XI – but they offered very little spark or imagination in the first half, with Lorient actually crafting the best chance.

The contest was more open after half-time, particularly in the final 20 minutes, and Sarabia produced a well-placed header late on to seal the victory, as PSG look to go one better than last season in the competition, having finished runners-up in 2018-19

Although PSG managed eight shots in the first half, there was a distinct lack of goalmouth action and the Parisians struggled to test Paul Nardi in the Lorient goal.

The only major opportunity of the opening 45 minutes fell to the home side just past the half-hour mark – Yoane Wissa heading Jimmy Cabot's cross just wide from close range.

PSG were no more of a creative threat after the interval, with Angel Di Maria, Julian Draxler and Sarabia underwhelming in their attempts to supply Mauro Icardi with good service.

Icardi was finally presented with a chance in the 67th minute, latching on to Sarabia's looping header at the back post, but Nardi just managed to get in the way when the opening goal looked a certainty.

Chances began to flow a little more in the final 15 minutes, as Thiago Silva cut out a potentially goal-bound shot from Vincent Le Goff and Nardi made a fine save to thwart Sarabia.

But the former Sevilla winger was not to be denied soon after, peeling off his marker to head home Silva's delivery.

 

What does it mean? PSG persist but lack of decisiveness a concern

It is not often that PSG struggle to break their opponents down. With a slightly altered supporting cast for Icardi, the Parisians often appeared short of ideas on Sunday. Perhaps it came down to a lack of focus - if so, Tuchel will need to stamp that out quickly if they are to enjoy a successful season across all fronts.

Nardi a safe pair of hands

He perhaps did not come under quite as much pressure as he might have expected, but Nardi still produced a commanding performance in Lorient's goal. His save to deny Icardi in the second half was excellent, while he looked confident when dealing with crosses and high deliveries.

Di Maria disappoints

The most experienced player in PSG's attack on the day, Di Maria certainly cannot be accused of going missing, but very little of what he did was positive. Only one of his seven shots was accurate and he produced a solitary key pass – hardly decisive.

What's next?

Another cup tie awaits PSG, as they go to Reims in the Coupe de la Ligue on Wednesday. Lorient return to league action two days later as the Ligue 2 leaders host Nancy.

Thomas Tuchel praised Paris Saint-Germain for their professionalism and humility in Sunday's 6-0 Coupe de France win over sixth-tier Linas-Montlhery.

Even without star names such as Kylian Mbappe, Neymar and Mauro Icardi, PSG were expected to run out comprehensive winners and they did not disappoint.

After going into half-time 2-0 up thanks to goals from Adil Aouchiche and Edinson Cavani, the floodgates opened in the second period.

Cavani got another, Pablo Sarabia netted a brace and Eric-Maxim Choupo-Moting rounded the win off late on, as PSG sailed into the last 32 of the competition, and Tuchel praised their attitude.

"We were serious and very humble," he told reporters after the match. "We deserved to win.

"It was not easy because the opponent played well throughout the match, but we also played well. It was a nice team game. It's a good start for 2020."

Cavani was making only his sixth start of the season across all competitions, having lost his place since the arrival of Icardi, and Tuchel was happy to see the 32-year-old – who is expected to leave at the end of the season – give himself a confidence boost.

"Edi [Cavani] is there to score, this is what we ask of him," Tuchel said. "It gives him confidence, and that's the best thing."

PSG return to action on Wednesday when they host Saint-Etienne in the Couple de la Ligue.

Paris Saint-Germain eased into the last 32 of the Coupe de France thanks to a 6-0 thrashing of sixth-tier side Linas-Montlhery, with Edinson Cavani and Pablo Sarabia scoring two apiece.   Thomas Tuchel rested many of his star players, including Neymar, Kylian Mbappe and Mauro Icardi, but victory was never in doubt and they secured passage to the next stage with complete comfort.   PSG were dominant almost right from the start and eventually took the lead after half-an-hour through the highly rated Adil Aouchiche and made it 2-0 thanks to Cavani just prior to the interval, having seen Sergio Rico save Idrissa Kanoute's penalty just a few moments early.   Linas-Montlhery noticeably struggled more after the break as they began to tire and PSG added further goals through Cavani, a Sarabia brace and Eric-Maxim Choupo-Moting as they cruised to a comfortable win.   After seeing several chances go to waste during the early exchanges, PSG finally opened the scoring in the 30th minute – Aouchiche receiving Colin Dagba's cut-back and slotting home confidently after deceiving his marker with a clever turn.   The hosts had a wonderful opportunity for a famous goal 10 minutes later when Dagba tripped Issa Cisse in the box, but Rico saved Kanoute's subsequent spot-kick and PSG capitalised 73 seconds later.   Cavani led a counter and played Julian Draxler into the box, before receiving a return pass back towards the edge of the area and the Uruguayan clinically found the net.   The floodgates opened after half-time.   Cavani doubled his tally with an hour played, converting from close range after Gratien Tsota held on to the ball for too long having intercepted Draxler's throughball, before he teed up Sarabia for an easy finish to make it 4-0 a few minutes later.   Sarabia then got a second in the 69th minute, slamming in from 25 yards after goalkeeper Ali Lutumba had lost his balance.   PSG made it 6-0 late on, Lutumba making a mess of Sarabia's initial effort and Choupo-Moting buried the rebound.

What does it mean? PSG are better than sixth-tier opposition… Who knew?

Matches like this are very difficult to draw conclusions from unless something truly ridiculous occurs. A comfortable win was the very least expected of PSG, and that's what they delivered.

Nevertheless, the hosts can be commended for their performance through parts of the first half, as they probably should have scored at least once.

Aouchiche catches the eye

While Cavani, Draxler and Sarabia all had productive outings, all three are extremely experienced and should be tearing apart opposition of this standard. Aouchiche, on the other hand, is just 17 and was making only his second first-team appearance. The midfielder was lively, looked assured on the ball and got himself a lovely goal. You cannot ask for much more than that.

Kanoute fluffs his lines

It would be unfair to be too critical of any Linas-Montlhery player given the gulf in quality, but Kanoute's penalty was the perfect opportunity to put a bit of pressure on PSG and his effort was poor.

What's next?

PSG are in cup action again on Wednesday, as they host Saint-Etienne in the Coupe de la Ligue.  

Kylian Mbappe scored for a sixth game running as Paris Saint-Germain eased into the quarter-finals of the Coupe de la Ligue with a 4-1 win over Ligue 2 side Le Mans at MMArena on Wednesday.

The Ligue 1 champions made eight changes from their 4-0 win over Saint-Etienne on Sunday but proved too strong for Le Mans, who were the last remaining team from outside the top flight in the competition.

Pablo Sarabia, Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting and Mbappe were all on target in the first half for PSG, who added a fourth goal through Angel Di Maria in the 47th minute.

Substitute Harrison Manzala pulled one back for the hosts, but Thomas Tuchel's men - record eight-time winners of the competition - saw things through to make it five wins in a row in all competitions.

Sarabia timed his run well to get on the end of Di Maria's left-sided cross and fire PSG ahead, with Pierre Patron getting two hands to the ball but failing to keep it out.

Le Mans eliminated Nice in the last round but their hopes of causing another upset took a hit when Mbappe squared the ball to Choupo-Moting after being played in by Marco Verratti's quick free-kick.

Mbappe added a third for the visitors 87 seconds later by taking Verratti's pass in his stride, holding off Pierre Lemonnier and beating Patron to extend his scoring run.

Some slack defending and goalkeeping early in the second half gifted PSG a fourth goal, Di Maria's attempt from range squirming through Patron's grasp.

Manzala cut inside and guided a shot away from Sergio Rico to give Le Mans something to celebrate, but it was plain sailing for the Ligue 1 giants in a quiet end to the match.

 

What does it mean? Much-changed PSG cruise through

Marquinhos, Di Maria and Mbappe were the only three survivors from the win over Saint-Etienne at the weekend as PSG boss Tuchel heavily rotated his side.

Despite the mass changes, the visitors eased through and will now be looking to improve on last season's shock quarter-final exit at the hands of eventual runners-up Guingamp.

Verratti at the heart of everything

Verratti caught out Le Mans with his quick thinking for PSG's second goal, which Choupo-Moting rounded off following some unselfish play from Mbappe.

The Ligue 2 strugglers were still coming to terms with that strike when Verratti again showed his quality by picking out Mbappe with a ball over the top for his side's third goal.

Poor performance from Patron

Keeping the likes of Mbappe and Di Maria quiet is difficult on a normal day, never mind when your goalkeeper gifts the opposition a couple of goals. 

Patron was caught out by Sarabia and Di Maria on their goals, making his only two saves of the match in second-half stoppage time.

What's next?

PSG return to Ligue 1 action with a home match against Amiens on Saturday, the same day Le Mans travel to the French capital to face Paris FC in their next Ligue 2 outing.

Thomas Tuchel explained that Neymar trained alone on Friday in order to safeguard his recovery from a hamstring injury, and the Paris Saint-Germain coach confirmed the forward is fit to face Monaco.

The Ligue 1 leaders face 13th-placed Monaco at Stade Louis II on Sunday, and Tuchel said the club has been carefully managing Neymar's fitness in order to ensure his availability.

The Brazil international played the second half of PSG's 2-2 draw with Real Madrid in the Champions League on Tuesday, yet Tuchel opted to keep him isolated from the squad during training.

Explaining why, he told reporters: "Because he felt something in the adductors after the game, we didn't take any risks.

"So he did individual training. That way, we can control it better. Today [Saturday] he trained with us without any problem, I think.

"He's with the team, he can play."

PSG's equaliser against Madrid came from Pablo Sarabia, who score eight minutes after coming on as a second-half substitute in a frantic spell.

Tuchel was pleased to see his €18million pre-season signing from Sevilla among the goals as he explained the challenge facing Sarabia as he adapts to his new, deeper midfield role.

"It's difficult for him to get a job like [he had] at Sevilla," Tuchel said of Sarabia. "At Sevilla, he had a position a little similar to that of Angel Di Maria here, or that of Ney [Neymar] or Kylian [Mbappe].

"He is a key player on the field. We recruited him because he is able to take responsibility, to play 50 or 60 matches per season. But now he has another role.

"He must adapt to our game, to our players. But he has played a lot of matches and he is very important to us because he gives intensity with and without the ball. He has aggression and we lack that in our game.

"He defends well, too. He is reliable and responsible. He has a good influence on our team.

"I'm very happy that it's him who scored [against Madrid] because he always gives everything during training."

Luis Enrique has returned as Spain head coach, replacing Robert Moreno at the helm heading into Euro 2020.

The former Barcelona coach stepped away from his role earlier this year as his young daughter Xana battled bone cancer. She died in August.

Former assistant Moreno took on the job in his place, but Luis Enrique is now back in charge, taking over a Spain team arguably in better shape than the one he left.

Qualification for Euro 2020 is clinched, while Moreno brought in a number of new faces - including members of Spain's successful European Under-21 Championship side.

Luis Enrique would do well to note the progress under Moreno, and we have picked out five breakthrough stars who can have a role to play at next year's finals and beyond.


FABIAN RUIZ

Arguably the outstanding player of that European Under-21 Championship team, Napoli midfielder Fabian had already caught Luis Enrique's attention and was called up in March. It was under Moreno that he established himself, though, making six appearances since his June debut. Fabian idolised Xavi as a child and he looks capable of running the midfield at the Euros.

PABLO SARABIA

Slightly older than some of the new faces at 27, Sarabia was made to wait until after his big move to Paris Saint-Germain in July for a first call-up. It will not be easy to hold down a place at PSG and nor has a fledgling international career been straightforward, but injuries saw Sarabia, an exciting, effective creator, recalled this month and he scored against Malta.

DANI OLMO

Winger Olmo left Barcelona's academy for Dinamo Zagreb in 2014 but, still just 21, looks all the better for the first-team opportunities. He starred for the Under-21s and then scored three minutes into his senior debut. Olmo is already fielding questions on a potential return to Barca and, whether now or in the future, looks set to be a Spain regular.

MIKEL OYARZABAL

Although 22-year-old Oyarzabal had featured once for Spain before Moreno took charge, he never featured under Luis Enrique - earning his sole cap for Vicente del Bosque ahead of Euro 2016, for which he did not make the squad. After a couple of seasons scoring regularly in LaLiga, however, Oyarzabal is back in the mix and opened his international account against Sweden in June.

GERARD MORENO

Sarabia may have been made to wait for senior recognition, but Gerard - also 27 - is a true late bloomer. Uncapped at youth level, the Villarreal striker debuted in October and scored three times across the November international break. Gerard has netted eight goals in LaLiga already this season and will hope to retain his form with the Euros approaching fast.

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