Amid allegations that the forward has lost form and focus, Paris Saint-Germain manager Mauricio Pochettino has defended Kylian Mbappe.
In his last seven games in all competitions, France star Mbappe has scored just twice, having begun the season by scoring nine goals in as many matches.
The 22-year-old has been undergoing a string of results in which he has made few decisive contributions beyond a lack of goals.
Mbappe has twice failed to have a shot in his most recent five outings, including in Wednesday’s 2-1 Trophee des Champions win over Marseille, and has failed to create a chance for teammates in three separate games.
On just one occasion in that run, he also completed more than two dribbles in a single game and has been criticized for losing the ball too often. He lost possession 19 times against Marseille, more than any other PSG player, and only dribbled past a defender twice.
Former PSG midfielder and coach Jean-Michel Larque, talking via RMC , believed Mbappe was reckless against Marseille as he was trying to “ridicule” his rivals, adding that the player’s current malaise means he “has no place at Paris Saint-Germain.”
However, before the Ligue 1 clash with Angers on Saturday, Pochettino insisted Mbappe was trying to do his best.
“I’m very happy with Kylian’s form,” Pochettino told a news conference. For us, he is an important player. He’s working hard for the team. With his commitment and his participation against Marseille, I’m pleased.
We are still looking for change, as with anything, but I’m pleased with the effort and dedication of Mbappe. He has played 90 minutes in all three games [since the arrival of Pochettino], which shows that I’m satisfied with the way he plays.
“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 regain top form, Pochettino said: “There are a lot of fitness myths about how you manage players in a team.”
For all of the players, our decisions are based on the highest. Since he is healthy, Mbappe played all three games. With the more minutes he earns, he will change.