PSG's Kylian Mbappe on superb strike: Dani Alves teed me up well
Paris Saint-Germain's Kylian Mbappe was delighted with his spectacular goal to secure a 1-0 win away at Saint-Etienne in Ligue 1 on Sunday but showed great maturity and insisted that the emphasis must remain on the team despite his latest stroke of brilliance.
Set up by Dani Alves' lofted pass, the 20-year-old France international found the roof of the net with a sliding volley to secure all three points at Stade Geoffroy-Guichard and become the first French player to score 19 goals from his first 18 appearances of a season in Le Championnat in the past 45 years.
Speaking with Canal+ after the final whistle, Mbappe thanked Alves and revealed that the pitch was worse to play on than it looked but kept the focus on PSG rather than his record-breaking form.
"Dani teed me up well, I went with instinct and I found the top corner," he said. "We were up against a good team, especially at home. They try to play good football too, but the pitch, well, it was something else...
"Not many teams come here and win -- we did. We are happy and we must keep going and aim as high as possible. Statistics are all well and good but doing it for the team is better."
Teammate Marquinhos, who switched back from his makeshift defensive midfield role to his regular central defensive berth in Saint-Etienne, stressed the importance of not setting Mbappe limits this early in his career.
"It was a very difficult goal," said the Brazil international of the Frenchman's second key strike in as many outings. "Kylian took it on the fly after Dani fed him with a nice pass. The goal reassured us -- the pitch was not very good to play on.
"With a player like Kylian, limits must not be set, and he knows how to handle his emotions very well. He must be there for every important match. We are by his side to help him and to push him."
PSG coach Thomas Tuchel revealed that Mbappe is prolific in training, as was evidence when he was presented with a special shirt celebrating his 100th training goal earlier this week and expressed his view that Les Parisiens' No. 7 is no ordinary talent.
"Kylian shows his quality day after day in training -- he has this hunger to score, score and score," the German said. "It is really his quality -- Kylian is a special player.
"Everybody was tired after Manchester United [in the Champions League last 16], physically and mentally. It was necessary to control the game, to focus. We showed that we had the mentality to obtain the victory."
Captain Thiago Silva praised Mbappe for his maturity and his cool-headedness, which he will do his best to continue to nurture.
"Kylian is a very smart player and he is starting to gain experience," said the Brazil international. "He handles pressure well. I will be there to help him. I am glad that he scored and that he always answers the call."
Goalkeeper Alphonse Areola added that: "I think that if I tried what Kylian did, I would hurt myself," and "seriously, though, it was a very well-placed volley into the roof of the net -- unstoppable!" on Mbappe's winner.
Next up for PSG are Montpellier and Nimes at home in Ligue 1, as well as a visit from Dijon in the Coupe de France quarterfinals -- all at Parc des Princes over the space of just six days.