Paris Saint-Germain boss Mauricio Pochettino has defended Kylian Mbappe amid accusations the forward has lost form and focus.
Beyond a lack of goals, the 22-year-old has been enduring a run of performances in which he has made few decisive contributions.
In his most recent five outings, Mbappe has twice failed to have a shot –including in Wednesday’s 2-1 Trophee des Champions win over Marseille –and failed to create a chance for team-mates in three separate games.
He has also completed more than two dribbles in a single game on only one occasion in that run and has been criticised for losing the ball too often. Against Marseille,he lost possession 19 times, the most of any PSG player, and only dribbled past a defender twice.
Former PSG midfielder and coach Jean-Michel Larque, speaking via RMC , claimed Mbappe was careless against Marseille as he was trying to “ridicule” his opponents, adding that the player’s current malaise means he”has no place at Paris Saint-Germain.”
However, ahead of Saturday’s Ligue 1 clash with Angers, Pochettino insisted Mbappe is striving to do his best.
“I’m very happy with Kylian’s form,” Pochettino told a news conference. “He is an important player for us. He is trying hard for the team. I’m happy with his effort and his involvement against Marseille.
“As with everything, we are always looking to improvebut I’m pleased with Mbappe’s effort and commitment. He’s played 90 minutes in all three games since Pochettino’s arrival, which shows I’m pleased with the way he is performing.
“So much is expected of him and he’s in the spotlight, but as I said, I’m very pleased with him and, over time, he’ll get goals and more assists.”
Asked if Mbappe needed a rest to recover top form, Pochettino said: “There are a lot of myths about the way you manage players in a team in terms of fitness.
Source : goal.com