Kylian Mbappe could be dropped vs. Anderlecht due to poor form
PARIS -- Paris Saint-Germain coach Unai Emery has suggested that Kylian Mbappe could be dropped for Tuesday's Champions League Group B clash with Anderlecht after experiencing a recent dip in form.
Although the France international has four goals and five assists from his 10 appearances across both Ligue 1 and the Champions League so far, he has put in a number of below-par recent performances -- notably during the 2-2 draw away at bitter rivals Marseille in Le Classique.
It was reported in the French press on Monday that Emery is set to make Mbappe a substitute against Anderlecht and the Spaniard hinted that it could happen when asked about it at Parc des Princes.
"Like the others, Kylian might start but he also might not," Emery said at his prematch news conference. "The most important thing is that the players are respected and told first [if they are not going to start]. The players will only discover this tomorrow.
"Kylian's recent form? I have analysed his 10 matches with us so far and generally speaking, his performances were of a high quality. However, it is also true that some of his showings were less good than others.
"Kylian has come here to develop and to help PSG to grow. Competition within the squad is good. I want displays to be collective in their nature. I am satisfied with the way things have gone with him, so far."
Emery denied claims that Mbappe, 18, is struggling to handle the mental and physical pressure on him since his summer move from Championnat rivals Monaco, and instead chose to view the teenage sensation's recent struggles as growing pains.
"Kylian is fine, both mentally and physically," said Emery. "I have spoken with him and it is a new experience for him -- he reads all of the comments in the media.
"It is important to overcome these tough moments. You learn each and every day. Even more so when you are still just 18.
"It is normal that he is going through a learning process. With his humility, he will grow much, much more. PSG will be champions in the future and he will be [a champion] too."
PSG midfielder Adrien Rabiot was sympathetic towards his fellow Frenchman's recent dip in form.
The 22-year-old youth academy graduate said that his and his compatriot's situations are different, but admitted it can be hard being exposed to such pressure at such a young age.
"Kylian is fine," Rabiot said. "What is going on in his mind, I do not know too much about that. However, these are big changes for him and he is still quite young.
"To me, Kylian is fine and I think he is doing well. If he has suffered a dip in form, surely it is something physical. He performed very well, very early on. He has joined a club where he gets greater exposure.
"Kylian is a star. It is difficult to cope with that at his age. However, he is handling it well. Our situations are different because I was educated here in the youth academy."
Jonathan Johnson covers PSG and the French national team for ESPN FC. Twitter: @Jon_LeGossip.