Hexagoal Ligue 1 Trophy

'Mbappé is one of world's best' says PSG boss Tuchel

Publish on 06/03/2019 at 00:00 - S. WILLIS


Paris Saint-Germain coach Thomas Tuchel has hailed Kylian Mbappé as "one of the best strikers in the world" as he prepares to unleash the French prodigy on Manchester United in Wednesday's UEFA Champions League Round of 16 second leg.

Wednesday, 6 March

UEFA Champions League Round of 16 2nd leg

Parc des Princes

Logo Paris Saint-Germain Paris Saint-Germain - Manchester United  (kick-off 21:00CET/8p.m.GMT)

Mbappé got on the scoresheet in the 2-0 win in the first leg at Old Trafford that has the Ligue 1 Conforama leaders sitting pretty as they welcome United to the Parc des Princes

Since their first meeting on 12 February, Mbappé has scored in all four of PSG's top-flight matches, tallying six strikes in all to take his total to an impressive 24 Ligue 1 Conforama goals this term.

After recently becoming the youngest player to reach 50 career top-flight goals in France, and also bringing up the half-century of competitive strikes for his club, Mbappé will present a clear and present danger to United's ambitions of reaching the quarter-finals.

'A real finisher'

"He's currently one of the best strikers in the world. He's young, but he's playing at a very high level right now," said Tuchel of the 20-year-old. "He's dangerous in the final third, he's a real finisher. It's difficult to defend against him, especially because of his pace.

"And in addition to all that, every day he shows a real hunger to score goals, his hunger to win, in every training session and every match. He has everything needed to become one of the very best in the world."

Mbappé looks likely to lead the hosts' line in the French capital, though Tuchel will wait for the end of Wednesday's final training session before deciding whether Edinson Cavani is fit enough to feature after missing PSG's last four league games with a hip problem.

The German tactician confirmed that midfielder Marco Verratti and defender Thilo Kehrer will play despite being only a booking away from a suspension as he looks for his PSG team to put United to the sword.

'Mustn't lose focus'

"The ideal scenario is to score the first goal of the game. We have to show our principal qualities, play with confidence and calm, but also put in a good dose of intensity, keep it tight, and play as a team. My players have shown that in recent weeks with matches every three days. For me, the key will be to play without fear and to trust in what we know how to do best," said the ex-Borussia Dortmund coach.

"We know a team like that can score at any moment. But if they score first tomorrow, we'll have to be able to react. The ideal thing would be to open the scoring, but we mustn't lose our focus or waste energy by being afraid. We have to be ready for every possible scenario. And we have to accept that Manchester will be ready to do anything it takes to get a result."

The visitors are without the suspended Paul Pogba, who grew up in the Paris region, as well as another France international born within sight of the Eiffel Tower, the injured Anthony Martial.

Juan Mata, Nemanja Matic, Ander Herrera, Jesse Lingard, Antonio Valencia and Alexis Sanchez are all high-profile absentees for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's side, who can expect little sympathy from PSG.

"We have to start the game as if the aggregate scoreline was 0-0. Our sole aim is to win the match. We want to show that we are a strong and united squad, and that we want to win the game. We have worked well, we're focussed, and we know our quality. We want to win the game and show, at home in front of our fans, that's it's tough to come and play here," explained Kehrer.

"We'll have to have the same approach as in the first leg. We have faith in ourselves. There are great players here who have experience. Our sole aim is to win the game. We're only thinking about that. It'll be up to us. We want to show what we're capable of doing. We want to play well at home and dominate the match."

Probable teams

PSG: Buffon - Kehrer, Thiago Silva, Kimpembe, Bernat - Verratti, Marquinhos - Dani Alves, Draxler, Di Maria - Mbappé

Man Utd: De Gea - Young, Smalling, Lindelöf, Shaw - Perreira, McTominay, Fred - Dalot, Lukaku, Rashford