Rennes – Paris Saint-Germain (Ligue 1, 19th day): Whether he likes it or not, Nordi Mukiele teases Achraf Hakimi

Rennes - Paris Saint-Germain (Ligue 1, 19th day): Whether he likes it or not, Nordi Mukiele teases Achraf Hakimi

He is directly involved in PSG’s last three goals in Ligue 1. It’s not Kylian Mbappé, Leo Messi or Neymar. It is not even a usual holder of Christophe Galtier. But well one of the strong links of his team since the recovery. Nordi Mukiele is seriously gaining momentum in the squad of the capital club. His two assists on Wednesday against Angers (2-0) came to confirm the phenomenon in a brilliant way. Even if they are far from summarizing on their own the growing impact of the former Montpellier player on Parisian training.

The one who underlined it the best, it is still him. “A game with two assists? It hadn’t happened to me since my last game in Leipzighe recalled after the success against the SCO. I am very happy to have helped the team. They are my first two in an official match with Paris, I am very happy because we won the match. The most important thing for me is also the clean sheet. Against Lens (3-1), we had taken three, against Châteauroux, one (1-3). For a defense, it’s never good. But here we are, we leave with three points, we don’t concede a goal and that’s the most important.”

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Mentally liberated, physically at ease

Speech follows action. We must not reduce the virtues of Mukiele to his offensive contribution. Even if his well-felt positioning, his sharp calls and his regularly precise crosses are precious in the attack phases of PSG. Above all, it improves a defense that has not given all the guarantees since the start of the season. The French international (1 selection) offers considerable added value in duels, on the ground or in the air. He has speed and power, and he manages to combine these qualities better and better to assert himself as an ultra-complete defender.

And versatile. This is one of the major reasons that prompted PSG to pay 12 million euros to recruit him to Leipzig last summer. “He can play as well in a defense with three, four or on the right side in full-back or pistonsummarized Galtier before the match against Angers. He has this big advantage“Having it is one thing, exploiting it is another. Especially in a club as demanding as Paris. Mukiele is accomplishing this feat.”He quickly integratedcontinued the Parisian coach. He has been working hard in recent weeks during the World Cup break. He is liberated on a mental level and very comfortable on a physical level. It’s a satisfaction.”

“If there’s a Hakimi understudy left? He’s more than an understudy”

Paris wanted a Swiss army knife, a player capable of helping out in almost all defensive roles off the bench, and more specifically a competitive understudy for Achraf Hakimi at right-back. Mukiele has not only met the expectations of its leaders. It is no longer very far from exceeding them. The native of Montreuil currently displays the level of performance of a potential holder. “If there is a double for Hakimi? He is more than a double,” conceded Galtier after the victory against Angers.

Mukiele knew how to seize his chance to show it. Used mainly as part of the squad rotation by Galtier before the World Cup, the 25-year-old has seen his playing time increase since the World Cup. A World Cup semi-finalist with Morocco, Hakimi rightfully benefited from a rest period on his return from Qatar. The Moroccan side returned from vacation this week, can the question of the hierarchy at the right-back position arise for Galtier as the most important deadlines of the season approach, and in particular the duel with Bayern Munich in 8th? Champions League final?

A state of mind “too” exemplary?

At least there is room for debate. Hakimi is rightly considered one of the best players in the world at his position, although he often seems more comfortable in a piston role within a system with three central defenders. Paris had made a considerable financial effort by paying 60 million euros to snatch him from Inter in the summer of 2021. Since then, the Moroccan has left a mixed impression. His offensive talent, undeniable, is not necessarily optimized at PSG, where he is regularly forgotten on the attack phases. And the Real Madrid-trained player chronically displays certain defensive limitations.

It is precisely on these two aspects of the game that Mukiele has scored points in recent weeks. Without claiming any other status. “I’m not focused on ithe said after the match against Angers, about the competition with Hakimi. Me, I try to make my matches, no matter where I play, in the axis or on the right. Today, we all know that Achraf is a very good player. I’m there to help the team, to play my matches when the coach calls on me.“An exemplary state of mind that can work against him. Even if he teases Hakimi on his level of performance, Mukiele will obviously accept his role as a substitute. He has this quality too.

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01/12/2023 At 10:07 PM