'Mature' Mbappe can fire in Madrid – Pochettino

By Sports Desk March 08, 2022

Mauricio Pochettino is optimistic Kylian Mbappe will be fully fit to face Real Madrid on Wednesday and does not expect the forward to be affected by "external factors".

Mbappe took a knock in training on Monday, but has been included in the squad for the second leg of the Champions League last-16 tie at Santiago Bernabeu.

The France international continues to be strongly linked with a move to Madrid when his contract expires at the end of the season.

Pochettino says Mbappe, who scored the only goal in the first leg, has recovered well from the kick he took this week and does not believe speculation over his future will have any impact on his performance in such a huge game.

The PSG head coach told reporters on Tuesday: "Of course we have spoken. Mbappe is doing well.

"He was in pain from a kick and he let out a yelp of pain, but a few hours later he felt better and was calm about it. He was able to walk normally – hopefully he can train normally after this press conference."

Asked how Mbappe would handle the media circus, he added: "Sometimes things are too intense and exaggerated. Internally we are very calm and we are very clear about things.

"Kylian Mbappe is a mature player, despite still being young. He wants to play football as well as he can for the club that he plays for.

"I have no doubt that Kylian's performances will have nothing to do with the external factors. He always stays calm."

Pochettino says the Ligue 1 leaders will take a positive approach as they attempt to seal their place in the quarter-finals.

He said: "It will be a difficult game. The concentration will [need to] be absolute.

"The best way to defend a score for a team like PSG is to attack and dominate. We did that at the Parcs des Princes but on Wednesday, it will be more complicated.

"And not just because of injuries. It's like a final and the match will require us to be very demanding. We have to approach the second leg like the first leg."

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