Before their must win match against Bulgaria, Kylian Mbappé admitted that the pressure and excitement is seriously overwhelming Les Bleus.
Your name is always at the centre of discussion; you are always the focus of the news. How are you coping with it?
I am coping very, very well. Everything has been working well for me recently. I do my job and I am happy with what I am doing. I need to continue and work even more to progress.
Who is more impressive in training: Neymar or Griezmann?
(Smiling) Both! They are two different players. Neymar has a creative side to him and Griezmann has a killer instinct in front of goal. I am learning from both of them.
What aspects of your game can you still improve?
Every aspect. Especially from a tactical perspective. I sometimes disconnect, in particular, when tracking back. From a technical perspective too, in terms of goal scoring opportunities. It is a bit of everything. I need to progress. I can do better.
Do you still feel like you are a little newbie?
I do not know about little… I try to be myself and respect those around me.
Does a game against Bulgaria get everyone fired up?
We are getting quite fired up. We can not wait to get on the field. Especially during big games like this, we love them. We have to make it to Russia. There is no other option. We have to best prepare ourselves to get there.
Is the team impatient?
Yes of course. We work year-round for these kinds of matches – big games that everyone will watch. We have to show up at the right time.
What remains from the last game against Luxemburg? Is there reason to worry or is it best to put it behind you?
We have to put this behind us, but also look at the takeaways. We have done just that. Now, we have to look forward. We are still in first place, and we will do everything that we can to stay there.
What needs to be improved for the game against Luxembourg on Saturday?
First and foremost, we can not lose concentration. That is what happened against Luxembourg, and before we knew it, time was up. We also need to play more with each other, and trust our teammates more. One individual player will not make the difference.
What has changed since your beginnings with the national team? Are you under greater pressure? Are you the country’s saviour?
No, I am not the saviour. We will be eleven on the pitch. That being said, I understand that people expect a lot from me, it makes sense. When there are good players, you expect them to be the difference makers. We are a quality group with many talented players. One person alone will not make the difference, but the team will.
You tend to play on the right for PSG. Following the last national team games, do you feel better equipped on that side?
I do not know if I am better equipped. It is more a question of habit. I became used to playing on the right side. When I came to Paris, I was told it would be complicated on the right, but I showed I could play in that position. We had a week of preparation and I was able to properly work on all those positions. I am ready to play wherever the coach puts me.
Is it not different playing on the right in a 4-3-3 like you do for Paris, as opposed to playing on the right in 4-2-3-1 for France?
Yes, completely different. The movement is different in a 4-2-3-1. You have less freedom, more tracking back, more tactical discipline. It is up to me to adapt.
You play with the national team, where some are predicting that you will take Olivier Giroud’s spot. How is he around you?
Very well. From the very beginning, he has made me feel welcome. He continues to do so. Olivier has been here for a while and he has shown that he is a striker who can bring a lot to the French national team, thanks to his play style and his goal scoring. We have a great relationship.
How has your arrival to PSG helped you impose yourself in the French national team?
I have not yet imposed myself in the national team! But moving to PSG is a big step in my career. I have taken an important step forward by joining the club. I am progressing and can still improve.
What do you think of when you hear Kostadinov?
(shrugs shoulders) Nothing, nothing comes to mind.
There are some bad memories between Bulgaria and France, with a particular history…
Nope, nope, nothing comes to mind! So, there will be no bad memories during experience (laughing).