Christophe Galtier insists Paris Saint-Germain "can't afford to only play one half" following their narrow 2-1 victory over bottom side Angers in Ligue 1.

Kylian Mbappe scored twice at Stade Raymond-Kopa as runaway leaders PSG moved 11 points clear at the summit, while pushing their opponents to the brink of relegation.

However, it was a generally below-par display by the visitors, who failed to press home their advantage after the restart and were denied a clean sheet when Sada Thioub struck three minutes from time.

In fact, Angers registered six more shots than PSG (10) during the 90 minutes and while Galtier was pleased to see his side edge closer to another league title, the head coach conceded he expects more from his players.

"Tonight, it was important to win," he told Amazon Prime. 

"But I must say, however, that if in the first half, we were serious and effective. In the second half, there was a total relaxation. We only carried the ball, without wanting to improve the advantage.

"Of course, we win. But when you're at PSG, you can't afford to only play one half.

"Is there also fatigue and wear and tear over a long season? Maybe, but we haven't done anything yet.

"The title is not yet ours. The gap is considerable, but we will see on Sunday [against Lorient] how things go. There are still several games to win."

Kylian Mbappe scored twice as Paris Saint-Germain edged out Angers 2-1 at Stade Raymond-Kopa.

Moving 11 points clear at the Ligue 1 summit despite a generally below-par display, the runaway leaders did the damage in the first half against the division's bottom side, whose relegation could be confirmed this weekend.

Mbappe's pair of well-taken goals inside the opening 26 minutes took his tally for the season to 34 in all competitions, though the visitors were denied a clean sheet by Sada Thioub's late strike.

Nevertheless, PSG registered their 14th successive league win over Angers, equalling their own record for consecutive victories over a single opponent in the French top flight (against Nantes).

Angers had the first opportunity when Batista Mendy's throughball released Ibrahima Niane, but Gianluigi Donnarumma was quickly out of his goal to deny him.

PSG broke the deadlock just four minutes later. Juan Bernat cushioned Lionel Messi's delicious diagonal ball into Mbappe who, despite fluffing his first attempt, recovered to eventually scramble home.

Messi was instrumental again as the visitors doubled their lead in the 26th minute, playing a sublime throughball for Mbappe to latch onto and round Angers goalkeeper Paul Bernardoni before slotting in.

The visitors pushed to stretch their advantage, with Achraf Hakimi firing over nine minutes into the second half, while Mbappe went close to completing his hat-trick when Bernardoni tipped over his dipping 35-yard effort.

Angers rallied and halved the deficit three minutes from time when Abdallah Sima cushioned Yan Valery's cross for Thioub to tuck home. But PSG held out to edge a step closer to yet another Ligue 1 title.

Manchester City are reportedly keeping a close eye on Chelsea midfielder Mateo Kovacic as a potential replacement for Ilkay Gundogan.

Kovacic, 28, has been a regular starter since arriving from Real Madrid in a £40million transfer back in 2019, but significant upheaval has seen him fighting for his spot in Chelsea's best XI.

With nine substitute appearances among his 23 Premier League outings this season, Kovacic's future at Stamford Bridge is up in the air as he prepares to enter the final year of his current contract.

While City are said to be serious about their pursuit of Borussia Dortmund star Jude Bellingham, it may not stop them making a move for Kovacic, who they purportedly believe could slide in seamlessly in Gundogan's place.

 

TOP STORY – CITY CONSIDER KOVACIC AS BELLINGHAM REMAINS THE PRIORITY

According to GiveMeSport, City are closely monitoring Kovacic's contract situation, and if no extension arrives he could be a prime candidate for Chelsea to ship off.

Further reporting from the Evening Standard adds that Chelsea are planning a "major overhaul" of their squad before June 30 in a race to comply with financial fair play rules.

That newspaper does not mention Kovacic as one of the likely departures, instead naming Christian Pulisic, Hakim Ziyech, Kalidou Koulibaly, Ruben Loftus-Cheek, Conor Gallagher, Romelu Lukaku, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Mason Mount.

City are reportedly not dissuaded by Dortmund's asking price of around £125m for English super-prospect Bellingham, but there has been no indication the teenager would sign off on the move among interest from the world's biggest clubs.

ROUND-UP

– Calciomercato is reporting Napoli have marked 21-year-old Atlanta United winger and World Cup winner with Argentina Thiago Almada as their top transfer priority.

– According to Sport, Barcelona and Inter are in favour of a potential swap deal that would send 26-year-old midfielder Franck Kessie to Italy in return for 30-year-old Marcelo Brozovic.

David de Gea is on the verge of signing a contract extension with Manchester United, per Forbes.

– Gazzetta dello Sport is reporting Chelsea, United and Paris Saint-Germain target Victor Osimhen will require a €150m (£132m) bid to pry away from Napoli.

– According to TalkSPORT, Aston Villa have renewed their interest in 22-year-old Arsenal talent Emile Smith Rowe after having a £30m bid turned down in 2021.

Javier Tebas would be making a "very stupid" move if the LaLiga president prevents Barcelona re-signing Lionel Messi, according to a director of the Camp Nou giants.

Juli Guiu, vice-president of marketing at Barcelona, reacted a day on from Tebas saying LaLiga would not alter its regulations to help smooth such a deal.

Spanish league chief Tebas is waiting for Barcelona's "viability plan" for next season, saying he hoped the club could "make the necessary moves to make space for Messi to come in, but of course we are not going to change any rules for Messi to sign".

Messi scored 672 goals in 780 games for Barcelona, setting records in both regards, but he tearfully left on a free transfer two years ago after financial restrictions prevented the club giving him a new contract.

There has since been frequent talk of Messi returning from Paris Saint-Germain, with his initial contract in France up at the end of the season.

It appears to be a strong possibility, and Guiu told Spanish broadcaster RAC 1: "It would be good news, not with the figures that have been published, but it would be great news.

"He is still the number one footballer in the world, without a doubt. [Manchester City's Erling] Haaland doesn't have the pull that Messi has.

"It is clear his return would be positive in the world of marketing, but that doesn't mean he's going to come back."

Guiu was asked whether Tebas would benefit from LaLiga having Messi back, and said: "Of course, and it would be very stupid if he didn't help us if this agreement ends up taking place."

On Wednesday, Tebas said there were ways in which Barcelona could fund a deal for the player who captained Argentina to World Cup glory in December.

"Barca can make moves; they sell players," Tebas said. "That's what we hope happens because I am a fan of Messi and I would like Messi to play in our league."

Christophe Galtier is confident he will remain as head coach of Paris Saint-Germain beyond this season and is already working on strengthening the squad.

Former Nice boss Galtier is on course to win the Ligue 1 title in his first campaign at PSG, but his side exited the Champions League and Coupe de France at the last-16 stage.

The 56-year-old is reportedly living on borrowed time at the Parc des Princes, with the Parisians said to be eyeing up a number of alternatives ahead of the 2023-24 season.

But Galtier remains focused on getting PSG over the line in the league and has already discussed possible transfer targets with technical advisor Luis Campos.

"We are working with Luis Campos on the architecture of the squad for next season," he said at Thursday's pre-match press conference ahead of facing Angers.

"We've talked about the modifications that we want to make to improve the team, to perhaps have more variety in our game and to have a better balance. 

"We have been working for weeks, and last week more specifically. I project myself to be the coach of next season."

Roma head coach Jose Mourinho is the latest high-profile name to be linked with the PSG job, with Galtier having to repeatedly fend off questions regarding his own future.

"I'm very focused on work. Work allows you to be active," Galtier said. "I'm very active with the staff, with the players. I know the importance of going for this title. 

"I'm focused on work. I also plan for the future. I have a lot of work to do in this regard. My brain is constantly active to be focused on the matches to get this title.

"There will be an assessment made at the end of the season, even if I talk a lot with Luis Campos and with our president."

PSG are eight points clear of second-place Marseille with nine league games to go, but it remains to be seen if a ninth title in 11 seasons will appease the club's wealthy backers.

The French giants may have struggled for consistency this season, but Galtier insists the World Cup is partly to blame for that.

"We must not forget that it was a unique season, with an international competition, the most beautiful of them all, right in the middle of it," he said.

"We will have to analyse what happened in the first part of the season and the second part. Why, for what reasons? Is there a lack of visibility? I don't think so."

PSG travel to bottom side Angers on Friday aiming to register a third league win in a row and close in on their latest title triumph.

The Parisians have not lost any of their last 28 games in all competitions against Angers, though Galtier is not taking anything for granted against the struggling hosts.

"You have to be vigilant about slackening, ensuring you maintain the required levels in training," he told PSG TV. "Each team we play will want to bring down the champion. 

"It's like that against Paris Saint-Germain; you have to be very vigilant. We have no right to be relaxed just because we've recorded two important victories.

"Angers will play their game without any pressure. There will be a great atmosphere, with players freed from any pressure they may have had before."

Angers will be relegated this weekend if they lose and other results go against them.

Inter defender Milan Skriniar has undergone back surgery and looks set to miss both legs of the Champions League semi-final derby against Milan.

The 28-year-old Slovakian, who is expected to join Paris Saint-Germain on a free transfer at the end of the season, has not played since mid-March.

His last game was as a late substitute in the second leg of the Champions League last-16 tie with Porto on March 14.

Inter said in a statement: "Milan Skriniar underwent endoscopic surgery on his lumbar spine yesterday at the Clinique du Sport in Merignac.

"The Inter defender will follow a rehabilitation programme in the coming weeks."

Considering Inter are giving such details on Skriniar's recovery, his prospects of involvement in the games against Milan on May 10 and May 16 look bleak.

He may already have played his last game for the club.

Skriniar has been a key man for the Nerazzurri since his move from Sampdoria in 2017, and PSG made him a target last year before reportedly trying again in January to sign him up.

It is widely thought Skriniar will be on his way to Paris at the end of this campaign, having lost the matchday captaincy at Inter over the saga of his anticipated exit.

The race for Jude Bellingham's signature continues, with Liverpool having pulled out last week.

Numerous top clubs are keen on the 19-year-old England international who is contracted with Borussia Dortmund until 2025.

Bellingham signed his initial deal with Dortmund in 2020 but is set for a major pay rise if he moves or pens fresh terms.

TOP STORY – MADRID TO USE DIAZ IN BELLINGHAM DEAL

Real Madrid are plotting a potential player swap-plus-cash deal to land Jude Bellingham in the off-season, according to Cadena SER.

Los Blancos are investigating potentially using Brahim Diaz, currently on loan at Milan, in a deal to help reduce Dortmund's reported €150 million asking price.

Madrid are currently in the process of extending the stays of veteran midfielders Luka Modric and Toni Kroos.

ROUND-UP

- Manchester City are preparing a new contract offer for Erling Haaland to ward off rivals interest from top clubs such as Real Madrid, claims The Athletic.

- Rafael Leao wants to stay with Milan following interest from Manchester City and Paris Saint-Germain, according to Manchester Evening News.

- Newcastle United have established contact with Ousmane Dembele's representatives to discuss a move for the Barcelona winger, claims 90min.

- Arsenal and Newcastle United are both interested in Bayer Leverkusen winger Moussa Diaby, per Le10Sport.

- The Telegraph reports Chelsea have opted against pursing Luis Enrique as their new manager, instead turning their attention to former Tottenham and Paris Saint-Germain boss Mauricio Pochettino. The Guardian claims Julian Nagelsmann remains Chelsea's top candidate.

- Tottenham will swoop on Chelsea's decision and look to appoint Enrique as Antonio Conte's replacement, according to The Express.

Barcelona "can make moves" to sign Lionel Messi, but LaLiga will not alter its regulations to help, even if Javier Tebas is keen to see the superstar forward back in Spain.

Messi, widely considered to be one of the greatest players of all time, left Barca on a free transfer two years ago after financial restrictions prevented the club from giving him a new contract.

There has since been consistent talk of Messi returning from Paris Saint-Germain, with his initial contract in France up at the end of the season.

But Barca's financial situation still has not improved to the extent they could immediately bring their great number 10 back into the fold.

Indeed, LaLiga chief Tebas told the Blaugrana last month they would have to recoup a significant sum in transfer fees and wage cuts before making any signing.

That remains the case, with the league determined not to ease its rules, but Tebas sees a path to Barca signing Messi again.

"As of today, no [Barcelona cannot sign Messi], but there is a lot of time left," Tebas said on Wednesday. "We are waiting for their viability plan [for next season].

"I hope they can make the necessary moves to make space for Messi to come in, but of course we are not going to change any rules for Messi to sign.

"Barca can make moves; they sell players. That's what we hope happens because I am a fan of Messi and I would like Messi to play in our league.

"But we won't change any rules. It is complicated, but I think they have the capacity to do it."

Messi's PSG deal included an option for a further year, while he has also been heavily linked with a move to Inter Miami in MLS.

Harry Kane's future at Tottenham is uncertain, with his contract due to expire in 2024.

As a result, speculation is developing about a move for the England international striker during the next transfer window.

Manchester United are known to be interested in the 29-year-old, while Bayern Munich were previously linked too.

TOP STORY – PSG TO CONTEND WITH UTD FOR KANE SIGNATURE

Paris Saint-Germain will battle it out with Manchester United to land Tottenham forward Harry Kane, reports Le Parisien.

PSG sporting director Luis Campos wants to bolster the side's attack and has identified Kane as their top target.

The French champions' president Nasser Al Khelaifi has a good relationship with Spurs chairman Daniel Levy, which may help negotiations.

ROUND-UP

- Lionel Messi has decided to remain in Europe for another two seasons, amid speculation about a move to Saudi Arabia or MLS, namely Inter Miami, claims SPORT. Messi has been linked with former club Barcelona, having yet to re-sign with Paris Saint-Germain.

- Fichajes reports Barcelona are circling to make a move for Liverpool's Trent Alexander-Arnold in the upcoming transfer window. Barca are hoping to sign him on a reduced fee, with the Reds to miss out on Champions League football next term.

- Liverpool will commence talks with Brighton and Hove Albion midfielder Alexis Mac Allister's camp soon, according to Fabrizio Romano, who said an off-season exit is a certainty.

- Newcastle United, West Ham United and Tottenham are all circling for James Ward-Prowse who has been told he can leave Southampton if they get relegated, claims Daily Mail.

- Inter have turned their attention to signing Borussia Monchengladbach's Marcus Thuram or Liverpool's Roberto Firmino, rather than making Romelu Lukaku's loan spell from Chelsea permanent, claims Gazzetta dello Sport.

- Fabrizio Romano reports Borussia Dortmund have agreed personal terms with Borussia Monchengladbach defender Ramy Bensebaini to join as a free agent in the off-season.

Liverpool are set for a busy off-season with suggestions that Jurgen Klopp and the club's management want a squad overhaul.

Among the key areas to address is their midfield options, leading to links to numerous players.

It was reported last week Liverpool have pulled out of the race for Borussia Dortmund midfielder Jude Bellingham.

TOP STORY – REDS TO RAMP UP MOUNT INTEREST

Liverpool will ramp up their efforts to sign Mason Mount, amid a lack of a breakthrough in negotiations between the midfielder and Chelsea, reports The Guardian.

The Reds have now moved on from Bellingham given Dortmund's asking price, with Mount in their sights given he is out of contract at the end of this season.

Mount has offered no signs that he will extend his Chelsea deal, with Liverpool eager to capitalise and lure the 24-year-old England international to Anfield.

ROUND-UP

- Chelsea could look to join the race alongside Real Madrid for Manchester City forward Julian Alvarez, according to Fichajes. Alvarez is reportedly unhappy with his lack of game-time on the pitch at City.

- Manchester City are interested in an off-season move for Bayern Munich's Alphonso Davies along with Real Madrid, reports Sky Sports Germany's Florian Plettenberg. Davies' contract runs until 2024 and he has held talks with Bayern on a new deal.

- Man City are also willing to let defender Aymeric Laporte exit in the off-season if he pushes for a move, claims the Daily Mail. Laporte, who is contracted until 2025, has fallen out of favour at City.

- 90min reports Arsenal are tracking Borussia Monchengladbach's Florian Neuhaus, who is contracted until 2024.

- Sport Witness claims Inter's Joaquin Correa has interest from Premier League trio Aston Villa, Everton and West Ham.

- Ex-Tottenham boss Antonio Conte will take over at Roma next season, with Jose Mourinho tipped to move to Paris Saint-Germain, per Calciomercato.

Keylor Navas believes he could help Paris Saint-Germain win the Champions League next season and feels capable of playing for "any team."

The 36-year-old Costa Rica international swapped life in the French capital for a Premier League relegation battle by joining Nottingham Forest on loan for the rest of the season in January.

Navas would relish another opportunity with the Ligue 1 leaders after Gianluigi Donnarumma took over as PSG's first-choice keeper.

He told Canal+ "I have one year left on my contract in Paris. If I have to go back there and play, I feel capable of winning the Champions League with PSG.

"I didn't like the situation I was experiencing in Paris. I wanted to feel that the team loved me. I always felt in good condition to play.

"When I was at PSG nobody could say that I was causing problems, that I wasn't training or that I wasn't working well On the contrary, I wanted to train even more and show that I could play. But unfortunately I didn't have the chance."

Navas has no idea where he will be playing next season and is keeping his options open.

He added: "I feel capable of playing for any team. We'll see what happens in the future. I would like, when I finish my loan here, to see the club's intentions. Then we can make decisions."

Real Madrid are eager to rejuvenate their squad for coming seasons with investment set to come in the off season.

Los Blancos are set to finish second in the LaLiga title race to Barcelona who hold an 11-point lead with nine games to play.

The depth of the reigning European champions, who are in this season's quarter-finals, has been tested at times this term.

TOP STORY – MADRID BOSS TO SWOOP ON CHELSEA TALENT

Fichajes claims Real Madrid president Florentino Perez has identified Chelsea quartet Reece James, Ruben Loftus-Cheek, Mason Mount and Mateo Kovacic as potential targets.

The latter three are all out of contract in 2024, meaning Los Blancos could sign them for free if they do not re-sign.

Perez is plotting to capitalise on Chelsea's downfall this term, with the club to miss next season's Champions League.

Kovacic previously spent three seasons at Santiago Bernabeu, while Mount has attracted interest from several top clubs given his quality and contract status.

 

ROUND-UP

Lionel Messi wants to return to Barcelona when his Paris Saint-Germain contract expire at the end of this season, reports Fichajes. Messi will overlook offers from Saudi Arabia and MLS club Inter Miami to return to his former club.

Manchester United are in pole position to sign French defender Axel Disasi from Monaco in the off season, claims Football Insider. Disasi is out of contract in 2025, with Chelsea and Manchester City also said to be interested.

Liverpool have turned to Bayern Munich midfielder Ryan Gravenberch as an alternative to Borussia Dortmund's Jude Bellingham, claims The Times.

– Calciomercatoweb claims Arsenal are still in the race to sign Juventus forward Dusan Vlahovic, despite stiff competition from Madrid and PSG .

Toni Kroos is set to accept a contract extension offer from Madrid and re-commit to the club for another 12 months, reports Marca.

Chelsea have met with ex-Bayern boss Julian Nagelsmann as they look for their next permanent manager, according to The Times.

Kylian Mbappe took sole ownership of another piece of Paris Saint-Germain history on Saturday when he scored against Lens.

Mbappe's goal was his 139th for the club in Ligue 1, moving beyond former team-mate Edinson Cavani for a PSG record.

As with the all-competitions record, which was Cavani's until Mbappe passed him at the start of last month, it is an honour that has changed hands with some regularity in recent seasons.

Before Zlatan Ibrahimovic, nobody had scored 100 top-flight goals for PSG, with Mustapha Dahleb's tally of 85 the benchmark prior to the QSI era.

But Ibrahimovic overtook Dahleb and was then himself overtaken by Cavani. Now, Mbappe is the history man, and it appears highly unlikely that will change any time soon.

Neymar – seven years Mbappe's senior and regularly plagued by injuries – is his nearest rival in the current squad, having scored 82 goals in 112 games.

Mbappe needed 169 Ligue 1 matches to pass Cavani's goals total of 138, which he amassed over exactly 200 league games for PSG. As a result, the France World Cup winner has averaged a goal every 98 minutes versus every 109 minutes for Cavani.

The game against Lens saw Mbappe net in a 98th different Ligue 1 match for PSG, and the 24-year-old will surely continue to score for as long as he remains in Paris.

While Cavani's 138 goals almost exactly matched his 137.8 expected goals, Mbappe has outperformed his xG in all seasons but his first at the club.

 

A player of such talent still at such a young age, there are no Ligue 1 high marks that look beyond Mbappe.

Marco Verratti has won a record eight titles, but his PSG colleague is not far behind on five. Delio Onnis' overall Ligue 1 goals record stands at 299, unbroken since the 1980s yet well within Mbappe's reach.

However, would either of those two impressive feats change a great deal for Mbappe? His remarkable rate of scoring since joining PSG has already proven there is nothing he cannot do in Ligue 1.

Mbappe's legacy will instead be forged outside of France, as it has been so far. He won Russia 2018 as a 19-year-old, by that stage a back-to-back Ligue 1 champion with two different clubs.

Subsequent frustrations have centred on PSG's failed Champions League exploits. In France, even when PSG have ceded the title, there have been no doubts about Mbappe's status at the top of the game.

At this stage, goals at World Cups – he already has 12 – and in Champions League finals will mean far more to this superstar striker than adding another to his record PSG tallies.

 

It is the reason why doubts remain around Mbappe's future after this season's latest limp European exit against Bayern Munich.

Surely already PSG's greatest ever player, Real Madrid and the rest will justifiably believe they can give a generational talent the platform he requires to tick off the rest of the items on his bucket list away from the French capital.

No doubt that means another close-season of speculation then – and even Mbappe might struggle to chase down Onnis before May.

Christophe Galtier felt Paris Saint-Germain could have delivered a bigger victory after Kylian Mbappe made Ligue 1 history in their 3-1 win over Lens.

The forward became the club's all-time top goalscorer in the competition after he struck in the first half amid a ruthless purple patch at Parc des Princes.

Further goals inside a blistering nine-minute spell for Vitinha and Lionel Messi helped the hosts run rampant against their title rivals, who had Salis Abdul Samed sent off beforehand.

But even with a comfortable result, Galtier felt his side could have delivered a more impressive second-half performance to match the occasion.

"It was important [to get the win]," he told Canal+. It was a pleasure to win. We benefited from the numerical advantage [we had] in the first half.

"[But] as much in the second half, we let ourselves go a little bit. The positions were no longer respected. We should have been more serious. We have them a little hope."

Victory refocused matters for Galtier on the pitch following a week in which he had dominated headlines off it following allegations of racism during his time in charge of Nice.

The coach is taking legal action over the claims which he denies, which stems from an email allegedly sent by former Nice football director Julien Fournier at the end of last season.

PSG have given their unreserved backing to Galtier, and touching on the matter, he thanked fans for their messages of goodwill and solidarity.

"It is important to have a lot of support, both [in] public, but also on a personal level," he added. "It is a great pleasure.

"All the messages that I have received publicly, it warms my heart, as much for me as for my family, my name. All my life I have been enriched by diversity, that's for sure."

Kylian Mbappe became Paris Saint-Germain's all-time top scorer in Ligue 1 as he helped them to a crucial 3-1 win over 10-man title rivals Lens on Saturday.

The forward made the most of Salis Abdul Samed's 19th-minute dismissal to net his 139th top-flight goal for PSG and overtake Edinson Cavani's haul, beating Brice Samba inside the box.

Further goals from Vitinha and Lionel Messi helped Christophe Galtier's side refocus on the pitch at Parc des Princes amid a week of off-field distractions.

Most importantly, it sees them open up a nine-point gap over Franck Haise's visitors, who face a monumental task to rein in the champions with seven games to go.

A cagey opening quarter exploded into life when Lens found themselves abruptly a man down, after Abdul Samed was shown a straight red for crunching into Achraf Hakimi's ankle.

PSG wasted little time in making their advantage count, with Mbappe driving his history-making goal in off the right post in the 31st minute as the prelude to a purple patch.

Vitinha buried a 25-yard rocket past Samba in the 37th minute to double the lead, before Messi played a one-two with Mbappe and slotted past the keeper three minutes later.

Hopes of a further rout did not come to fruition following the break however, and Lens were gifted a penalty lifeline when VAR cited Fabian Ruiz for a handball shortly before the hour mark.

Przemyslaw Frankowski duly sent Gianluigi Donnarumma the wrong way, and from there the visitors proceeded to punch above their weight in a lively last half-hour.

But there was to be no great comeback, and with three more points in their back pocket, it is PSG who hold all the cards heading into the final stretch of the season.

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