PSG: “A happy Leo Messi is a very good thing for Paris”, says Nordi Mukiele
“Nordi is more than an understudy”. Aware of the quality of his right side’s performance, Christophe Galtier was full of praise for Nordi Mukiélé on Wednesday night after PSG’s victory (2-0) against Angers. Author of two assists, one for Ekitiké, the other for Messi, the former Leipzig defender did not hide his delight after what looked to be his best outing in the Parisian jersey.
After the Lens setback, is it important to return to league success?
NORDI MUKIELE. We won the match 2-0 and we finished with a clean sheet, it’s very good for confidence. But we have to forget this match because an important meeting awaits us on Sunday in Rennes and we also have to go and get three points there.
How do you feel on this right side?
I feel good, better than before, more liberated. But this is just the beginning. I had a repeat performance of sorts tonight. I’m so happy. The team helps me, I handle more balls than at the beginning… I’m really happy that I was able to help the team. It’s up to me to continue.
How long has it been since you delivered two assists in the same match?
(He smiles). Since my last game in Leipzig. I am very happy that I helped the team. These were my first two assists in a match in Paris (Editor’s note: he already provided Kylian Mbappé in the victory over Nice on October 1) and I’m happy because we won the match. But also because we ended up with a clean sheet, after taking three against Lens and one against Châteauroux. This is never good for a defense.
You grow in power. At this rate, you’ll force Achraf Hakimi…
I’m not focused on that. I try to make my matches wherever I play, whether it’s on axis or on the right. We all know that Achraf (Hakimi) is a very good player. I’m there to help the team, to play my matches when the coach needs me. Today I did it and I am very happy.
We see you don’t hesitate to bring offense. Are these the coach’s instructions or more of an initiative you want to take?
Today, we played in a different system with five defenders, so I had to bring offensive and defensive as well. I managed to do it defensively and I’m very happy because from game to game, I’m taking a lot more confidence, a lot more risks and it shows tonight. The goal is to help my partners offensively. We know the qualities we have in the future. I try to bring my best. In my mind, the most important thing is to be good defensively, so if I can bring something like I did tonight, it’s a very good thing for the team.
How does it feel to assist Lionel Messi?
I’m happy to have made an assist for Leo especially since he just returned from the World Cup. Giving him this decisive pass is a good thing for me but it won’t change much.
What will change with his return to the team?
Leo is always fun to play with. Today, he is world champion and we are all happy for him. I think he came back smiling even though he already had one before leaving. We’re happy that he scored on his return, it’s a great thing for him, but for us.
Is it different now?
That’s it, he really is a world champion, that’s what he lacks. He managed to win this title, he was very happy. I’m happy for him. He came back to help us and we will need him because of the matches that await us in the Champions League and in the league. I feel. He is happy, before he left for the World Cup, now he is even happier because he won. Having a happy Leo is a very good thing for Paris. I hope it continues because it will help us throughout the season.
What does his presence change tactically for you?
We know very well that the opponent is afraid of players of the caliber of Kylian, Ney or Leo… Today he helped a lot, he found passes that few would find. In addition, he is scoring and playing a good game. We are happy to have Leo back.
Are you already thinking about the 1/8th final against Bayern on February 14?
Not me. We still have a lot of league games until then. We have to focus on Ligue 1, although the Champions League is also important for us. Bayern is in February, we have time to think about it. Now, we are concerned with the championship and the Coupe de France. We will think about the Champions League when the time comes.
What goals have you set for the second half of the season from a personal perspective?
To be good at the position I will play, whether on the right or on the axis, but also to help my teammates. On a personal level, the most important thing for me is to do well in every match. I hope to continue what I have been doing since the championship.
You are officially a fall champion, is this anecdotal or does it represent something?
It represents something especially that behind there are teams like Lens who hold us. It’s always nice to be first, but the most important thing is to be last.