Paris Saint-Germain striker Kylian Mbappe believes that he and his teammates need to stop “being scared” in the Champions League after they overcame the absences of Neymar and edinson Cavani to win 2-0 away at Manchester United on Tuesday.
The France international scored the Ligue 1 giants’ second goal after Presnel Kimpembe’s opener and Mbappe felt that Thomas Tuchel’s men did their talking on the Old Trafford pitch.
“It is good, we are happy,” he said after the match before adding that “it is only half-time, though.
“We must stop feeling fearful — people must stop being scared. Football is played on a pitch. Of course, Neymar and Edinson are important, but so too is what happens on the ground and we showed that here.
“I am a little disappointed as I had the chance to score a third. I think that it is over at 3-0.”
Kimpembe, who scored his first senior goal in Manchester, admitted that it was a dream-like scenario for him — even if he was fortunate to escape a second yellow card in the first half.
“To open the scoring in this sort of Champions League match against United is a reward and something that I will always remember,” said the France international. “I am very happy and proud to have scored my first goal, but I am even happier with the win.”
Tuchel congratulated his team and reserved special praise for marco Verratti and marquinhos in midfield after their dominant displays.
“Congratulations to my team, we were excellent,” the German said. “However, it is only half-time. Yes, we won, but we still need to play at Parc des Princes.
“Marco and Marquinhos are incredible, but you cannot play all season with just two midfielders — not at a club like PSG or a Bayern Munich. If we lose a defender, we do not have too many guys to play at the back.”
Marquinhos thanked Tuchel for identifying the potential in him to play in midfield and professed his love for the team after such a convincing collective display.
“This was huge,” said the Brazil international. “When my team plays this way, I love them. We played with character and strong mentality. There is not one person who did not run or did not give 100 percent.
“I have to thank the coach for complimenting me a lot and seeing things in me that I had not seen. This sort of match helps my development. I am happy with what I did with [Manchester United midfielder Paul] Pogba, but I am still focused on our collective win.”
Goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon feels that there is more to come from PSG if they can finish United off in the second leg.
“I must thank my teammates for an incredible performance,” the Italian said. “I think that we can go a long way if we keep going like this.
“For me, to feel these emotions, to share them with my teammates, it is something that I cannot be without. I am happy for everyone and the injured guys too, like Neymar. If we progress after the second leg, I think that we can go far.”
Captain Thiago Silva admitted his satisfaction at silencing some of PSG’s critics and a tight defensive display.
“As skipper, this gives me great satisfaction because we get a lot of criticism,” said the Brazil international. “It is true that I have been angry with conceding some sloppy goal lately, but we showed that with the right mentality and a solid defence, great things can be done.”
Meanwhile, Dani Alves praised PSG’s ability to “draw from our collective strength,” while Julian Draxler paid tribute to the fans.
“The support was amazing,” the Germany international said. “Even during the warm-up, there were so many people! It was amazing — it really helped us.”
Chairman and CEO Nasser Al-Khelaifi reflected the delight of PSG’s Qatari owners, but also warned that it is not over just yet.
“We are very happy tonight,” Al-Khelaifi said. “We are very proud of our team, our coach and our supporters — it was a magical evening. “We showed character to beat one of the best teams in the world in Manchester United. It is not over yet as there is the second leg at home, which we need to focus on. We have to do the same thing again.”