Football

Mbappe: PSG coped well without Neymar, Cavani

Kylian Mbappe said Paris Saint-Germain showed they need not be afraid of being without Neymar or Edinson Cavani as the French club won 2-0 at Manchester United in their Champions League Round of 16, first-leg clash yesterday morning (Singapore time).

Neymar and Cavani, who have scored a combined 42 goals this season, are sidelined with foot and hip muscle injuries and did not make the trip to Old Trafford for the first leg.

"We need to stop with the scare stories. People need to stop being afraid. Of course, Neymar is hugely important and Cavani is fundamental to us, but football is played on the pitch and we showed that today," Mbappe told RMC Sport.

The World Cup-winning forward followed up Presnel Kimpembe's 53rd-minute opener for PSG with a second goal on the hour mark as Thomas Tuchel's team took firm control of the tie before the second leg on March 6.

It was an outstanding performance from PSG in the absence of the injured Neymar and Cavani - the world's most expensive player, as well as the French champions' all-time top scorer respectively.

In their absence, PSG still succeeded in inflicting a first defeat on United since Ole Gunnar Solskjaer took over last December.

It prompted former Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger to remark that the stars' absence benefited PSG, as Tuchel switched to a 4-5-1 formation which overwhelmed United in midfield.

Wenger, who was a guest pundit on beIN Sports, said: "It was a little advantage for PSG to play with five midfielders tonight and with (fewer) offensive players."

Observing how the likes of Marquinhos and Marco Verratti helped the visitors win the midfield battle, Wenger said: "PSG played with five midfielders and they never lost the ball.

"When Man United had the ball, they lost it very quickly because PSG dominated the midfield to win the ball back."

PSG midfielder Julian Draxler echoed Mbappe's sentiments, saying: "We are a team with Neymar and Cavani, two international class players, but we are a team without them as well."

Football