PSG boss Luis Enrique plays down injury fears over Kylian Mbappe

By Sports Desk February 09, 2024

Paris St Germain boss Luis Enrique has played down any injury concerns for Kylian Mbappe after the France forward did not take part in full training ahead of Saturday’s Ligue 1 match against Lille.

Mbappe, who continues to be linked with a move to Real Madrid in the summer, picked up a minor issue during the Coupe de France win over Brest on Wednesday night.

Despite having not joined in with the rest of the squad for Friday’s final training session and instead worked in the gym, Enrique insists there are no concerns over his availability.

“Kylian will be fit tomorrow and available to play,” Enrique said.

“He didn’t train today because we didn’t want to take any risks, so he trained inside, but he will be available for the game.”

PSG continue their Champions League campaign next week with the first leg of their last 16 tie against Real Sociedad.

Enrique, though, insisted everyone was focused on the job in hand against Lille, who sit fourth in the table.

“We are at a point in the season where we play every three days. We have to plan the options with the staff to always be competitive,” Enrique said.

“We must not underestimate any match – all games are important. As a squad, we try to have two players per position of equivalent level.

“We don’t want to forget certain matches, consider one more important than another even if the one against Real Sociedad is highly anticipated.

“We want to be competitive and be able to win every match.”

Enrique told a press conference: “Lille has a very good team and a coach that I really like.

“It will be difficult when we have the ball because they will come and press us and difficult when we don’t have it because they have good use of it.

“It’s a great test for us, to prove that we want to be competitive in all matches.”

Forward Randal Kolo Muani missed the midweek cup tie because of a viral infection, while left-back Nuno Mendes is stepping up his recovery from surgery on his hamstring.

Lee Kang-in has been given some time on leave following Asia Cup duty with South Korea.

PSG president Nasser Al-Khelaifi has suggested the club are ready to quit the Parc des Princes and look for a new home ground elsewhere after city officials confirmed the stadium was not for sale.

“I believe the president was very clear in his message,” Enrique said.

“I know for sure that he is working to find the best solution for the club. This is essential for us to be stronger.”

Related items

  • PSG made to wait for Ligue 1 title after Monaco overcome Lille PSG made to wait for Ligue 1 title after Monaco overcome Lille

    PSG were forced to put their Ligue 1 title celebrations on ice after second-placed Monaco overcame Lille on Wednesday.

    Luis Enrique's side swept aside Lorient 4-1 after doubles from Ousmane Dembele and Kylian Mbappe, putting the pressure on the chasing Monaco.

    Yet Youssouf Fofana's third league goal of the season edged Adi Hutter's team to a 1-0 victory, delaying PSG's inevitable title success – barring a miraculous collapse.

    PSG, who also have a two-legged Champions League semi-final with Borussia Dortmund to come in May, are 11 points clear with just four top-flight games remaining.

    Having lost just once in Ligue 1 all season, PSG would secure back-to-back top-flight crowns if they overcome Le Havre on Saturday at Parc des Princes.

    Though victory appears likely against relegation-threatened Le Havre, the Parisians would still be crowned champions without victory if Monaco fail to win on their visit to Lyon the following day.

    Given the clash with Dortmund comes just four days after meeting Le Havre, Luis Enrique may rest the likes Bradley Barcola, Marquinhos, Achraf Hakimi, Vitinha and Warren Zaire-Emery, as he did against Lorient.

    While the title remains in PSG's hands, Monaco at least took a step closer to Champions League qualification with victory over Lille, sitting 10 points clear of fifth-placed Nice.

  • Xavi makes U-turn and elects to stay at Barcelona Xavi makes U-turn and elects to stay at Barcelona

    Barcelona head coach Xavi will continue in his role next season after an unexpected reversal of his decision to leave at the end of the 2023-24 campaign, according to widespread reports.

    The former Barcelona midfielder announced in January that he would walk away from the job at the end of the current season, even though his contract was due to run until the end of the following term.

    Xavi acknowledged the Barcelona role had taken its toll but reportedly changed his plans after a meeting with Blaugrana president Joan Laporta on Wednesday.

    The 44-year-old was initially appointed as Barca coach in 2021 before leading the LaLiga giants to the top-flight title in the 2022-23 campaign.

    Xavi's initial announcement of his intentions to depart Barcelona came after a tough period following defeats to Girona, Real Madrid and Athletic Club before revealing the news in the aftermath of a 5-3 loss to Villarreal.

    The Blaugrana turned their fortunes around after that decision became public, though, going 13 games unbeaten across all competitions.

    Unsurprisingly, that run encouraged Laporta, vice president Rafa Yuste and sporting director Deco to plead with Xavi to continue until the end of his agreed contract.

    Though that undefeated streak ended with a 4-1 defeat to Paris Saint-Germain that dumped Barcelona out of the Champions League quarter-finals, Xavi has now agreed to stay in his role.

    The league title is almost out of reach this term, however, as Real Madrid moved 11 points clear of second-placed Barca with Sunday's 3-2 Clasico victory.

  • Slot pursuit shows Liverpool running out of options, suggests Carragher Slot pursuit shows Liverpool running out of options, suggests Carragher

    Liverpool's pursuit of Feyenoord boss Arne Slot proves there is "a dearth" of elite coaches currently on the market, according to former Reds defender Jamie Carragher. 

    On Wednesday, widespread reports claimed Liverpool have entered talks with Feyenoord, who will reportedly demand at least €10million (£8.5m) in compensation to part with Slot.

    Slot joined Feyenoord in July 2021 after leaving AZ Alkmaar, leading the Eredivisie giants to the Europa Conference League final – which they lost to Roma – in his first campaign at the helm. 

    The club's second league title in 20 years followed in 2022-23, and though Feyenoord are set to relinquish their crown to PSV this term, they beat NEC Nijmegen to lift the KNVB Cup on Sunday.

    Xabi Alonso was thought to be Liverpool's primary target to replace outgoing boss Jurgen Klopp, but the former midfielder – who was also interesting Bayern Munich – has announced his intention to stay with Bayer Leverkusen.

    Sporting CP's Ruben Amorim was also linked with the post, but it is thought he is no longer a leading candidate. 

    Speaking in his role as a Sky Sports pundit ahead of Wednesday's Merseyside derby between Liverpool and Everton, Carragher warned the job will be a major step up for Slot if he is appointed.

    "What I would say is I think going from Feyenoord to Liverpool is a huge jump, and I think it shows at this moment that there's probably a dearth of real top managers out there," he said.

    "Initially it was Xabi Alonso, it's only his first full season as a manager. Then there was talk of Ruben Amorim from Sporting, again he's only 39. Now Arne Slot looks like he's the favourite.

    "I don't think it's like Rafael Benitez coming in, or Jurgen Klopp. Benitez came in off the back of two LaLiga titles and a UEFA Cup, Klopp had won a couple of league titles with Borussia Dortmund.

    "Liverpool were in a different space back then, certainly the team I was part of with Benitez… we were a team looking to qualify for the top four. It was the same when Klopp came in.

    "Liverpool are in a different area now, fancying themselves to challenge for the Premier League every season, and in next season's Champions League they'd expect to reach the quarter-finals at least.

    "I think it's a huge jump but he's obviously a great coach with a great track record with the clubs he's been at so far. We'll see."

© 2023 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.