‘He’s Only 22 but Very Mature’ – Mauricio Pochettino Comments on Managing Kylian Mbappé

Mauricio Pochettino took over the managerial job when Paris Saint-Germain decided to sack former manager Thomas Tuchel in December. Then in January, the capital club appointed the Argentine tactician to the position and was jumping on a moving train. 

The French giants had already known they’d be facing FC Barcelona in the UEFA Champions League Round of 16. So Pochettino went from being unemployed to having to prepare for Europe’s top competition. In an interview with The Guardian, the 49-year-old spoke about these knockout matches. 

In their two matchups, PSG has eliminated Barcelona and the reigning European champions FC Bayern Munich and now has the challenging task of eliminating the best club in England this season. Pochettino discussed their path thus far. 

“The Champions League loves us,” Pochettino said. “Any time we are involved in Champions League games, people are not indifferent. ‘OK, it’s MP coaching staff involved in the Champions League; we need to watch.’ Against Barcelona, against Bayern Munich, we took the attention because both ties were fantastic.”

“It was: ‘Oh, it’s them again, the best team in the world. No one believed in us, but here we are.”

One of the reasons that Les Parisiens has been able to advance to the semi-finals is due to the performance of Kylian Mbappé, who scored a hat-trick at the Camp Nou and a brace in Munich against the Bavarian club. Pochettino touched on his relationship with the young superstar. 

“He’s only 22 but very mature, confident in his talent, and open. He can speak French, of course, but also perfect English and Spanish. I speak in English and Spanish with him – more English than Spanish. I said to him the other day: ‘I need to practice my French with you, to improve,’ and he said: ‘Sure, but it’s better for me to talk in English.’ He loves to practice different languages,” Pochettino said. 

“Before the first leg in Barcelona, I told him that I’d won there one time with Espanyol, and he said, very seriously: ‘OK, tomorrow will be the second time.’ I said: ‘Are you sure?’ And he said: ‘Yes, don’t worry. We are going to win.’ He was laughing after the game, and he said to me on the pitch: ‘I told you, I told you, I told you.'”

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Tags Kylian Mbappé Mauricio Pochettino
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