Jesus Perez defended Kylian Mbappe after the Paris Saint-Germain star fired another blank as the Ligue 1 champions overcame Angers 1-0 to move top of the table.
Layvin Kurzawa’s goal with 20 minutes remaining saw PSG edge Angers at Stade Raymond Kopa on Saturday, leapfrogging rivals Lyon in the process, though Rudi Garcia’s side can return to the summit by topping Metz on Sunday.
PSG are six games unbeaten in Ligue 1, while the titleholders have kept 12 clean sheets this season – more than any other team in the top-five European leagues.
But Mbappe was a topic of discussion post-game after the reported Real Madrid target saw his scoreless run extend to four matches as he was withdrawn 10 minutes from time.
PSG assistant Perez, deputising in the absence of head coach Mauricio Pochettino due to his positive coronavirus test, praised the France international forward – who has scored 12 goals in 16 Ligue 1 appearances this term and 14 across all competitions.
FT in Angers. (0-1)
— Paris Saint-Germain (@PSG_English) January 16, 2021
“Kylian was instrumental in this victory,” Perez told reporters. “He fulfilled his role. We changed his position during the match.
“He then better attacked the spaces. He’s less successful at the moment, but he has his share in that success. He worked hard for the team.”
With Pochettino self-isolating, Perez took charge as PSG secured back-to-back league wins, having also claimed the Trophee des Champions during the week.
PSG duo Marco Verratti and Leandro Paredes exchanged 72 passes against Angers, the highest tally for a midfield pair in Ligue 1 this season.
Asked about Pochettino and his absence, Perez said: “He had contact with the players by video before the game. We too had it before the match and then at half-time to exchange.
“We continued to discuss what we did this week. We also talked about training for the coming week. We will take advantage of this week’s macrocycles to focus on specific points during the session. We prepared everything with Mauricio.”
“It was difficult but we took the three points,” he added. “Angers are a very well-organised team which gave us some concerns. But we went for this victory.”