Paris Saint-Germain head coach Thomas Tuchel has refused to rank Kylian Mbappe as the best player he has ever trained, instead opting to praise current and former charges such as Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Ousmane Dembele.
Injuries have ravaged the French champions this season and Mbappe has often been called upon to deliver results during times when Neymar and Edinson Cavani have been sidelined, perhaps most notably in PSG’s 2-0 Champions League victory over Manchester United.
There can be no doubt that the World Cup-winning forward should be counted amongst the planet’s current greats, but Tuchel would not be drawn on whether he is the most talented player he has ever had the pleasure of coaching.
“That’s a dangerous question!” Tuchel laughed. “I’ve coached Aubameyang, Ousmane Dembele… Auba will always remain in my heart.
“Kylian is exceptional, but Neymar and Cavani are also up there. Incredible players. I don’t like phrases like ‘the best’ or ‘better than’. We’ve very happy with our players.
“Everyone in the locker room knows how reliable and super important Mbappe is, but I don’t rank players. He still has things he needs to improve, even if that’s hard to believe!
“Everyone pushes him to his limits and he is able to do that. He’s of massive importance this season.”
The German boss was also questioned by the press with regards to his ability to spot qualities in personnel that others may have missed, pointing to the likes of Marquinhos – who has been reborn as a No.6 this term – as well as improvements in Angel Di Maria and Thilo Kehrer.
“It’s a combination of things,” Tuchel told reporters. “You have to push, push, push – and protect them too. Marquinhos has the qualities to become one of the best players in the world.
“I can’t always take credit. It’s a good time, which we savour, but it’s the hard work that allows us to do that. The mentality of the players allows us to do that too.
“Those things are necessary for us to achieve great things – that’s down to the merits of the players. We get a little bit of luck here and there but we have quality. Not just technical and tactical, but in character and mentality.
“I’m just doing my best.”