Times of Malta

Enrique ‘very happy’ with Mbappe ahead of semifinal


Paris Saint-Germain coach Luis Enrique said yesterday he was “very happy” with star attacker Kylian Mbappe during a press conference on the eve of his side’s French Cup semi-final clash with Rennes, as he downplayed rumours of a rift.

Following Mbappe’s announceme­nt to the club in February that he would leave Paris at the end of his contract this summer, the Frenchman has seen his playing minutes reduced and he looked visibly unhappy when substitute­d off with half an hour to play in PSG’s 2-0 win at Marseille on Sunday.

Asked about Mbappe’s attitude when leaving the pitch at the Velodrome, PSG’s Spanish coach Luis Enrique said: “What’s curious is everything that’s being said based on a piece of false news.

“Someone has invented an insult (based on a lipreading of a video showing Mbappe as he made his way off the pitch) and then from that comes all kinds of speculatio­ns.”

After the match, Mbappe posted a photo on Instagram of himself walking off the field under the rain, holding the captain’s armband in his hand – in the absence of Brazilian defender Marquinhos, the attacker was PSG’s captain on the night.

“I’m taking it all in my stride. I’m very happy with all my players, Kylian included, he’s always behaved admirably,” said Luis Enrique at yesterday’s press conference.

Ahead of PSG’s fixture with arch-rivals Marseille, the Spaniard said Saturday in an interview with Prime Video that Mbappe “can still change his mind” about leaving.

Although heavily linked to Spanish giants Real Madrid, Mbappe has still not announced where he will play football next season after his current contract expires with PSG.

Still in contention for three titles – the French league, French cup and Champions League – PSG now enter a crucial phase of their season.

Tonight, they will welcome Rennes to the Parc des Princes where they are favourites to book a place in the French Cup final on May 25 in Lille.

The following Wednesday, Luis Enrique’s former side Barcelona visit PSG for the first leg of their UEFA Champions League quarterfin­al tie.

“We’re all in the same boat, sailing and seeking success,” said Luis Enrique of his side’s treble quest.

“I’d love this to end well for PSG, for Kylian, for everyone.”

 ?? ?? PSG coach Luis Enrique and forward Kylian Mbappe.
PSG coach Luis Enrique and forward Kylian Mbappe.

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