Unai Emery’s future at Paris Saint-Germain not certain – Kylian Mbappe
PARIS — Paris Saint-Germain attacker Kylian Mbappe has admitted that coach Unai Emery’s future is not certain after Tuesday’s 2-1 loss at home to Real Madrid in the second leg of their Champions League round-of-16 tie completed a 5-2 aggregate defeat.
The Ligue 1 leaders were back in action at Parc des Princes on Saturday, with Mbappe among the scorers in a 5-0 thumping of bottom side Metz, and the France international conceded that Emery’s fate is in the hands of PSG’s leaders.
“I do not know,” Mbappe said in the mixed zone. “I am not a director, so it is not up to me.
“I have a good understanding with the coach — he is a very good coach.
“Now it is up to the leadership to decide. That is their job. Mine is to play on the pitch.”
Emery was whistled by sections of the PSG support once again, as was the case after a 3-1 first leg defeat away at the Santiago Bernabeu, and Mbappe can understand the fans’ disappointment.
“Everybody knows that we let the supporters and everybody else following the club down,” the 19-year-old told journalists when asked about the Spaniard’s reaction to the whistling and jeering.
“Them being unhappy is normal — they expected big things of us and they were disappointed, but at least they came to the stadium to support us.
“After a few whistles, as professionals, we stop hearing them. In my opinion, the coach is not the only one responsible — we are all responsible.
“They chose to whistle the coach. If they choose to whistle the coach, they are whistling all of us because we are one. We lost together. It was not Unai Emery who lost, it was PSG. So, we all get whistled. After all, it is us, the players, on the pitch.”
Mbappe was equally disappointed with the defeat to Real over two legs, but revealed that, for him at least, the experience has provided some valuable lessons.
“It is simple,” the former Monaco man said. “When you have already lost a match of that importance, you watch that game back to see what went wrong.
“Before the second leg, we knew what we were missing, and certain things confirmed our deficiencies. Now it is up to us to work hard and improve because being eliminated, I am not going to say that it is not important, of course it is, but it is even more serious to repeat the same mistakes season after season.”
Mbappe felt that he and his teammates did as well as they could have against Real in midweek, but that Zinedine Zidane’s men possessed superior mentality.
“Mentally, we did as well as we could,” said Les Parisiens‘ No. 29. “Nobody can say that we did not want it, but I think that it was more footballistic than that — Real showed us the difference between top players and champions.
“We will learn, we have already learned, but we must avoid the same mistakes next time and just finish this campaign now.”
Regarding his recent dip in form, Mbappe admitted that it is not his “best moment” and that the Champions League exit was “another blow.”
However, he vowed that the team will “try to finish the season as best as we can and without injuries before the World Cup.”
Meanwhile, Emery said of the Metz win: “It was important to get back to winning ways, especially here at home, in front of our fans. We need to keep moving forward and work hard to reach our goals.
“We want to win the league and the two domestic cups. We produced a very complete performance tonight and we have to keep going like this.”
Youngster Christopher Nkunku scored twice against Metz, with Thomas Meunier joining Mbappe on the scoresheet in the first half before Thiago Silva rounded off the scoring with a late header.
Nkunku, 20, has now scored three goals in two games after being given a starting berth by Emery.
“It was a great night, with, above all, a big win,” Nkunku said. “We also kept another clean sheet. It was a very good match for us. The aim was to pick up the three points, and that’s job done. For me, it was a special day. It was incredible to score twice, here at the Parc, in front of my family.”
United States youth international Timothy Weah, son of former Ballon d’Or winner George Weah, played another 20 minutes for PSG after receiving his debut last week.
He had a 1-on-1 saved and tracked back to make a decent tackle during his time on the pitch, and said after the match: “It is incredible to have played here at Parc des Princes, in front of thousands of PSG supporters and alongside such great players.
“It is a dream come true for me to play for the same club as my father.”
Jonathan Johnson covers PSG and the French national team for ESPN FC. Twitter: @Jon_LeGossip.