Emery backs Mbappe to shine on Monaco return

The young France international will return to his former employers this weekend, but his manager does not believe the occasion will get to him

Kylian Mbappe will be fired up for a “special” occasion when he returns to former club Monaco on Sunday, according to Paris Saint-Germain head coach Unai Emery.

Teenage France striker Mbappe enjoyed a stunning breakthrough season with Monaco last term, scoring 26 goals in all competitions to fire Leonardo Jardim’s side to the Ligue 1 title at PSG’s expense.

Mbappe hat-trick 12/1

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But Bernardo Silva, Benjamin Mendy and Tiemoue Bakayoko all departed for the Premier League during the latest transfer window, while Mbappe opted to join Neymar in moving to the French capital, where the pair have formed an all-star forward line with Edinson Cavani.

The 18-year-old initially joined PSG on a season-long loan deal, although the Parc des Princes club have an obligation to buy him for €180million at the end of the campaign.

“Mbappe will return to Monaco for the first time. I think it’s normal for him,” Emery told a pre-match news conference, with Mbappe having scored his seventh PSG goal in the 7-1 midweek rout of Celtic

“I know it’s special for him but he will play with PSG jersey and he will defend it 100 per cent.”

PSG have the opportunity to tighten their grip on the title race at Stade Louis II after Monaco’s 1-1 draw at Amiens last weekend allowed them to open up a six-point advantage at the summit.

Although Monaco have performed manfully with a new-look squad in Ligue 1, last season’s Champions League semi-finalists were thrashed 4-1 at home by RB Leipzig this week to crash out of the group stages with a game to spare.

Emery still feels PSG are facing high-quality opposition on Sunday and rejected suggestions the overall level of competition in the French top flight compromises teams when they come to face Europe’s elite.

“The game against Monaco is a big game for us. Almost a Champions League game,” said the former Sevilla boss, whose side have stormed into that competition’s knockout stages by plundering 24 goals across five games against Anderlecht, Celtic and Bayern Munich.

“Our [domestic] league has great teams and if we don’t prepare 100 per cent for our games we can lose them or make a draw.”

Emery has no new injury concerns for the trip to the principality, although veteran defensive midfielder Thiago Motta remains out after knee surgery.

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