Mbappe cannot be stopped - Saha thinks PSG have edge over Manchester United

By Sports Desk February 11, 2019

Former Manchester United striker Louis Saha has warned his old side that they face an attacking force "who cannot be stopped" in Paris Saint-Germain star Kylian Mbappe.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer takes charge of his first Champions League match since taking over as caretaker manager against the Ligue 1 champions at Old Trafford on Tuesday.

PSG have been dealt a series of injury blows in the build-up to the last-16 tie, with Neymar, Edinson Cavani and Thomas Meunier to miss the first leg and Marco Verratti short of full fitness.

However, Saha thinks World Cup winner Mbappe will help to give Thomas Tuchel's side the edge.

"Paris Saint-Germain are slightly ahead because they kept progressing," he told Omnisport when asked to compare the teams. "They have a player like Mbappe who cannot be stopped."

"Man United are a great club with quality players. Paris Saint-Germain are solid because the head coach brought more stability between defence and attack. The coach can easily switch his system, he's very clever and has great communication. He has great coaching staff able to identify the opponent's philosophy. We saw him changing his system several times during a game.

"The team has evolved a lot. They haven't taken it to the next level in the Champions League, those few steps left to reach the final. They lacked those elements: the right information, atmosphere, balance, reaction to what cannot be predicted. The coach needs to deal with it, giving the right space and confidence to the players while keeping his defence ready. It's a balance to reach that is different in Champions League to the league."

PSG were considered heavy favourites when the draw was made in December, but their problems with injuries, coupled with United's resurgent domestic form under Solskjaer, suggests the tie could be closely fought.

Saha, in fact, thinks United should not be discounted from challenging for the trophy this season, even if they sit fourth in the Premier League and 14 points behind leaders Manchester City.

"The Champions League is a different world," said Saha, who won the competition with the Red Devils in 2008. "We've seen it with Liverpool and others. Some were not the best in the league and, once in the Champions League, the cohesion rises. It is not the same.

"It is not going to about the one who plays a solid game; that's not enough in the Champions League. It's about the players able to play freely, to deal with the transitions and with the pressure of the last minutes of the game.

"You have to deal with pressure, ego and confidence. Some attack or defend too much [in the final few minutes]. It is a coaching thing. Zinedine Zidane won Champions Leagues and showed us how to do it. We just hope now that Ole does the same."

Related items

  • Chelsea 1-1 Leicester City: Mount hits the heights before Foxes bite back Chelsea 1-1 Leicester City: Mount hits the heights before Foxes bite back

    Chelsea were unable to close out their first win of the Frank Lampard era as Leicester City's Wilfred Ndidi enjoyed a redemption tale in Sunday's 1-1 Premier League draw at Stamford Bridge.

    Mason Mount embarrassed Ndidi to score his first Chelsea goal in the seventh minute as the hosts started superbly.

    But, as in the 4-0 loss at Manchester United seven days ago and the UEFA Super Cup penalty shoot-out defeat to Liverpool in midweek, the Blues were unable to sustain their efforts over the course of the contest.

    Ndidi levelled as James Maddison made life increasingly uncomfortable for Chelsea after the interval, meaning Brendan Rodgers' side have started their campaign with back-to-back draws.

    Lampard was serenaded on to the touchline in his first home game at the helm and a party atmosphere was almost ramped up inside the first minute – Pedro thumping a volley from Olivier Giroud's knockdown into the side netting.

    It was a high-tempo start from the hosts, with Kasper Schmeichel denying Mount and smothering Christian Pulisic's attempted follow-up.

    The opener felt inevitable and Mount pickpocketed a lackadaisical Ndidi to clip into the bottom corner.

    Schmeichel was well-positioned to prevent Mount from heading a second before Christian Fuchs made a goal-saving challenge that denied N'Golo Kante.

    Leicester grew into the game before the break and Maddison rounded a scrambling Kepa Arrizabalaga before being crowded out five minutes into the second half.

    The playmaker twisted past Anders Christensen and hitf a shot across the face of goal as Chelsea struggled to find their earlier momentum.

    If not in the same emphatic manner as Chelsea's goal, the equaliser felt like it was coming by the time Ndidi atoned for his earlier error and converted Maddison's 67th-minute corner.

    Maddison's dazzling, inventive play merited reward but he lashed wastefully over 17 minutes from time, before playing in Jamie Vardy to shoot wide. The full-time whistle ultimately felt like more of a relief for a Chelsea side exhausted and overrun by that stage.

     

    What does it mean? Lampard's vibrant side need substance to match style

    As in his first two matches in charge, Lampard saw Chelsea play some wonderful football in patches but once Leicester gained a foothold, they struggled to turn the contest back in their favour. Having come through an early onslaught, Rodgers' men stated their top-six credentials in assured fashion.

    Mount and Maddison impress

    A week on from Jose Mourinho querying his place in the Chelsea starting XI, England Under-21 international Mount turned in a performance as tenacious as it was technically assured. Maddison is a more established Premier League performer, having created 100 chances last season, and Chelsea found him increasingly unplayable as the game went on. England manager Gareth Southgate will undoubtedly have an eye on such exciting creative talents ahead of Euro 2020.

    Azpilicueta lets it slip

    Lampard's Chelsea do appear defensively short, especially as they wait for Antonio Rudiger to regain full fitness in the wake of David Luiz's departure to Arsenal. The rookie coach could certainly do without the club's most reliable defensive performer hitting a slump. Cesar Azpilicueta was culpable in the Old Trafford defeat and lost Ndidi for the Foxes' equaliser.

    What's next?

    The Championship's top two from last season – each bolstered by weekend wins – are next on the agenda for these sides. Chelsea travel to take on Norwich City, while Leicester are in action at Sheffield United. It is time for both to add victories to their promise.

  • I'm still getting better - De Bruyne in ominous warning to Premier League I'm still getting better - De Bruyne in ominous warning to Premier League

    Kevin De Bruyne believes he is still yet to reach his best despite putting last season's fitness struggles behind him by making a tremendous start to the new Premier League campaign.

    The Belgium international was named City's Player of the Year in 2017-18 but was restricted to just 11 starts in the Premier League last term due to knee and hamstring injuries.

    However, De Bruyne has started this campaign in impressive style with three assists in his side's first two matches - a 5-0 win over West Ham and 2-2 draw with Tottenham - and is confident of maintaining that form.

    "I feel good and I'm becoming better," he told City's official website. "It's still the beginning of the season, so sometimes it's heavy [going], but I feel fine, so everything will be OK this season."

    De Bruyne was seemingly at the centre of everything good for the reigning champions on Saturday, the 28-year-old setting up Raheem Sterling and Sergio Aguero with teasing crosses.

    Tottenham twice pegged City back to earn a point, but De Bruyne felt his side did enough to win the match and has targeted a response away at Bournemouth next Sunday.

    "We played well and I think we deserved to win," he said. "The team played really well and played offensively the way we want to play.

    "We didn't get the three points, but that's the only thing we didn't get. We want to win every game but it's very difficult.

    "We deserved to win and we will go again next week and everything will be fine."

  • FA Cup specialist, England centurion – Ashley Cole's career in numbers FA Cup specialist, England centurion – Ashley Cole's career in numbers

    Ashley Cole has confirmed his retirement from professional football.

    A decorated left-back for club and country, the England international was widely recognised as one of the finest players in the world in his position during his time with Arsenal and Chelsea.

    Stints at Roma, LA Galaxy and Derby County followed for Cole, who will now focus on a move into coaching.

    Here, we look at some of the numbers the 38-year-old returned over the course of a magnificent career at the top level.

    385 ­– Across spells with Arsenal and Chelsea, Cole made 385 appearance in the Premier League. He won England's top flight on three occasions – with the Gunners in 2001-02 and 2003-04 before starring for Carlo Ancelotti's Blues in 2009-10.

    7 – Triumphing with Arsenal in 2002, 2003 and 2005 and Chelsea in 2007, 2009, 2010 and 2010, Cole has more FA Cup wins than any player in the competition's history.

    38 – Cole was an ever-present for Chelsea in the Premier League during the 2011-12 campaign. It was also the season he supplied his highest number of assists (six).

    15 – He chipped in with 15 goals over the course of his time in England's top flight, with four of those coming amid Chelsea's title-winning efforts of 2009-10.

    107 – Cole comes in sixth in terms of all-time England caps with 107, one shy of 1966 World Cup-winning captain Bobby Robson. Former international team-mates Wayne Rooney (120), David Beckham (115) and Steven Gerrard (114) are also ahead of him, along with England's all-time most capped player Peter Shilton. Cole's Chelsea colleague Frank Lampard played for the Three Lions 106 times.

    0 – No player has featured more often for England without scoring, with fellow full-back Gary Neville (85) the next most capped on that list.

    22 – Cole has made more appearances at major tournament finals than any England player. Rooney and Gerrard managed 21, with Beckham and Shilton on 20.

© 2018 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.