Barcelona (AFP) – Kylian Mbappe believes the best is still to come from Paris Saint-Germain after his stunning hat-trick helped the French club to a memorable 4-1 win over Barcelona in their Champions League last 16, first leg at the Camp Nou on Tuesday.
“We are very pleased. It was a very important match for us. We wanted to come here and win and we have done it in style,” Mbappe told French broadcaster RMC Sport after PSG came from behind to close in on a place in the quarter-finals.
The win was secured despite PSG being without the injured Neymar and Angel Di Maria, and despite Barcelona taking a first-half lead through a Lionel Messi penalty. Moise Kean scored PSG’s other goal.
Asked about the role of recently-appointed coach Mauricio Pochettino in PSG’s victory, Mbappe insisted the Argentine had built on the foundations that were already in place under his predecessor.
“The coach has done a marvellous job since he arrived but he has also carried on the work done by Thomas Tuchel who had done an extraordinary job taking us to the final,” said the 22-year-old.
“Things have been a bit disrupted for him because he had Covid, not to make excuses, but we are improving. We are not yet at our peak. Today was great but we will keep trying to make progress so that we can repeat this type of performance.”
Mbappe is just the second visiting player to score a hat-trick against Barcelona in a Champions League match at the Camp Nou after Andriy Shevchenko for Dynamo Kiev in 1997.
That 4-0 defeat against the Ukrainians in a group-stage game was also the last time Barca had let in four goals at home in Europe.
“This match was magnificent but we have won nothing,” warned Mbappe, with the second leg still to come in Paris on March 10.
The last tie between these clubs, in the last 16 in 2017, saw PSG win 4-0 in the first leg at home only to infamously crumble and lose 6-1 in the return.
However Mbappe insisted his side will immediately return their focus to the Ligue 1 title race and a weekend game against Monaco.
“We are fully focused on our objectives and we have another important match coming up on Sunday in the league, because we are not top and we have no margin for error. So we need to turn attentions straight back to the league,” he said.
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