This week, matchday two of the UEFA Champions League group stage will occur as Paris Saint-Germain will travel to Turkey as they take on İstanbul Başakşehir. Kylian Mbappé spoke with the Paris Saint-Germain website to discuss the upcoming matchup and his current form in Ligue 1.
One of the talking points last week was over the capital club’s loss to Manchester United FC. The website asked the 21-year-old if the squad has moved on from that defeat to start the Champions League.
“It’s not the first time we’ve lost the first match of the group stage. We know how to react. The matches are linked quickly and we will try to win Istanbul to honor this jersey and the club,” Mbappé said. “All matches are important, but when you play every two or three days it is still difficult, even if you are the biggest competitor.”
The conversation transitioned to how physically prepared the squad was, considering that significant starters like Marquinhos picked up an injury while playing for their national team. Others had quick turnarounds while making their way back to Paris.
“The recovery was difficult physically, but especially mentally, because there was no preparation. We came back from a final at the end of August, then we left for selection, other players had the Covid. It was special. It is a special year to which we must adapt. But mentally, it’s difficult to recover. In my mind, and many of us are feeling it, this is not a new season. It’s like it’s a continuation of the last season. For me, we are in the 60th game of the season, and not in the 9th game of the new season. For me, a new season is when you have a cut in which you have had time to recharge the batteries. There, we are just in overtime, it’s a marathon that continues, so it’s not easy,” Mbappé said.
“Normally, after the Champions League final, you win, or you lose, but after that, you have vacations, or a competition for the national team and then vacations. But whatever happens, you cut with the football, you recharge the batteries to be efficient and to prepare well for a new season. There, we lost the final, and we had to replay it right away. Me, I love to play, I love this sport, I always love being on the pitch, so you will never see me complaining about matches. But to say that it is not easy to manage, it is not a complaint, it is an observation.”
For a quick second, the discussion transitioned to Ligue 1, and the website asked what has led to his terrific start domestically.
“Of course. I think I have to evolve and I realize it every day. It’s not perfect. I’m not perfect. There are matches where I was not good, but I continue to improve. I also think you have to play with others. You do not win alone and that is the most important in a team sport. It’s not yet perfect because I’m a striker and a striker, basically, he is taught to be selfish to be in his bubble,” Mbappé said.
“It’s a very special position, and I know it’s hard to understand the state of mind of a striker. But I do work on myself, I know that to win a match you have to work together, and knowing how to make others shine too, it’s as important as shining yourself. That, I know it’s not perfect, but I showed that I was able to make others play too while keeping my desire to score because that’s also what can change matches. It’s all about the right choice and I am in this phase, where I am still learning to make the right choices. I have a lot of things I need to improve on and I’m on the right track so I’m happy.”
Finally, after losing the first match of the group stage, Mbappé is asked about the pressure of winning in Turkey.
“No, no, because the Champions League are matches you always have to win. Even if we had won the first game, it would have had the same importance. We must win. When you play in Paris, you always have to win. So, for sure, when losing, people will expect us a little more. But the pressure will be the same. We always have pressure when we play, and that will not change against Istanbul.”
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