Kylian Mbappe vented his fury at Neymar during Paris Saint-Germain’s Ligue 1 encounter with Montpellier on Saturday – and Mauricio Pochettino has responded to rumours of a rift between the duo
Paris Saint-Germain boss Mauricio Pochettino has poured cold water on claims there are hostilities between Neymar and Kylian Mbappe on the eve of their Champions League clash with Manchester City.
Mbappe was visibly livid with Neymar after he was substituted in the second half of PSG’s 2-0 victory over Montpellier on Saturday.
Leaked footage showed the Frenchman complaining his Brazilian teammate was not passing to him during the Ligue 1 encounter and reports in France suggested a serious rift has emerged between the pair.
But Mbappe and Neymar were pictured smiling together in training on Monday and Pochettino insists the spat was simply a “small incident” which can occur between two driven professionals.
“They are fantastic guys,” said Pochettino of Neymar and Mbappe. “These things happen. There are always things between top players. They are competitors and want to win.
“I have spoken to them both individually and they have also spoken together to each other. There are photographs from training of them enjoying themselves.
“The target is to win. If there is a small incident then it sometimes creates a big wave. But that’s all outside the club. In reality it’s a minor problem. It’s really nothing.”
Pochettino also provided an insight into his squad’s mood ahead of the visit of City on Tuesday night, adding: “The team is happy and calm.
“The players are training well and there is a good atmosphere. As I have said, this is a special club and maybe we do things differently from other clubs.
“As part of this family we know there are special situations that may not arise at other clubs. So we have to find the right balance at the heart of the team.”
Who is the better player out of Kylian Mbappe and Neymar? Have your say in the comments.
Pochettino’s comments on Neymar and Mbappe’s relationship were echoed by PSG midfielder Ander Herrera, who insists reports of a bust-up were blown out of proportion.
“I realised from the first day that Neymar and Kylian had a very special connection,” said Herrera. “And nothing has changed so far.
“In every game, we tease each other, but in the end, we like each other. We are a good group.
“As soon as I arrived at the club, I could see the bond between Ney and Kylian.
“We can still see it. They laugh, they roam. In the match, everyone wants to score or give an assist, those are things that happen.
“Sometimes things are oversized, out of context. You have to take it in a fun way because you know what this club stands for.”