Mauricio Pochettino says Kylian Mbappe “needs to improve” as part of his new era being ushered in at Paris Saint-Germain.
The Argentinian has been handed the reins at Parc des Princes, with the former Tottenham manager being charged with the task of delivering long-awaited Champions League glory in the French capital.
World Cup winner Mbappe will have a leading role to play in that quest, with the 22-year-old becoming a talismanic presence in a star-studded squad.
He did, however, draw a blank as Pochettino’s first game at the helm ended in a 1-1 draw with Saint-Etienne and his new manager admits that more is expected of the frontman, especially as Neymar is nursing a knock.
“Kylian needs to improve, like everybody else,” Pochettino said of Mbappe, who has been linked with a move elsewhere. “He should feel disappointed as we did not win and he can always do better. However, his attitude was good. I am happy with what he did.”
Pochettino is still in the process of getting his message across at PSG, having been appointed as successor to the ousted Thomas Tuchel, and club captain Marquinhos admits it will take time for a fresh approach to deliver the desired impact.
The Brazil international has told the club’s official website: “Changes? Yes, there were changes, that’s normal, but you can’t change everything at once.
“The coach was clear with us, we tried to adapt to his philosophy while maintaining our identity. Bit by bit, I am sure that we will improve, the link-up play will come, the coach will put in place his philosophy and we will play better.
“We had a tough opponent up against us, with experience and aggression and they caused us problems. We weren’t able to find those connections to put in a better performance, but it's expected with a new coach and the time it takes to adapt to a new philosophy, as well as the return from the holidays.
“It’s true that we came here to get the victory, we tried, we pushed, there were some issues in our movement and our passing. It wasn’t our best evening, we are aware of that. Now, we need to get back to work, we have got three days before our next match, when we will go out to get the victory.”
PSG will be back in action on Saturday at home to Brest, with an inconsistent 2020-21 campaign leaving the defending champions sat second in Ligue 1, three points adrift of leaders Lyon.