PSG match-winner Mbappe has 'no problem' with coach Luis Enrique

SAN SEBASTIAN: Kylian Mbappe insisted he had "no problem" with Paris Saint-Germain coach Luis Enrique after scoring a brace in his side's win over Real Sociedad in the last 16 of the Champions League on Tuesday.

Wearing the captain's armband, Mbappe opened the scoring quarter of an hour into the second leg in San Sebastian and struck again early in the second half.

PSG won the game 2-1 to secure a 4-1 aggregate victory and a place in the quarter-finals for the first time since 2021.

"It's fine. There is no problem with him, even if people might think there is a problem. I do have problems but the coach is not one," Mbappe told broadcaster Canal Plus when asked about his relationship with Luis Enrique.

Mbappe had either started on the bench or been substituted in each of PSG's previous three Ligue 1 games since he informed the club he would be leaving when his contract expires at the end of the season.

He was replaced at half-time in last weekend's 0-0 draw at former club Monaco, but he played the whole 90 minutes here and took his goals tally for the season to 34 in 34 matches.

"We are very, very pleased to be in the quarter-finals," added Mbappe, who flourished in an attacking set-up which allowed him to come in from his favoured left flank, with Bradley Barcola on the right and Ousmane Dembele through the middle.

"I don't have any message in particular. I just always want to play in the Champions League.

"It is a very important competition. I try to always perform. Sometimes that happens and sometimes it doesn't, but I will never be a player who hides."

Runners-up in 2020, PSG have never won the Champions League and had gone out in the last 16 in five of the last seven seasons.

"We are satisfied and happy. We played really well and stopped La Real from getting back into the tie," Luis Enrique said.

Of Mbappe, he added: "There is no need to manage Mbappe. He manages himself.

"Normally he has freedom, but today he was fixed on the left wing from where we wanted him to be in a good position in the final third, because when you leave him in on goal he is lethal."

PSG will now hope for a favourable draw in the last eight, both legs of which will take place in April.

"We have no pressure. We have not won the Champions League," added the former Barcelona coach, who named a young starting line-up on Tuesday with an average age of under 24.

"Our team is clearly improving and we will see how far we can go.

"We are not putting extra pressure on the team. We are one of the youngest teams and this objective needs to be something to be excited about rather than a weight for us.

"It has to be a source of motivation and from there we will try to compete against whoever we play." --AFP

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