Van Gaal told he’s wrong on Mbappe criticism: ‘His problem is ego – not tactics’

Robin Bairner
PSG star Kylian Mbappe missed the penalty that saw France knocked out of Euro 2020

Kylian Mbappe’s poor Euro 2020 has prompted a debate as to where the Paris Saint-Germain forward can improve.

Expected to be the star of the summer’s competition, Mbappe failed to make an impact as France crashed out at the last-16 stage. Indeed, he even missed the decisive penalty in the shock loss against Switzerland.

Former Barcelona and Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal spoke about how the PSG man, who is out of contract next season and is being strongly linked with a move to Real Madrid, must improve tactically.

However, former Monaco, PSG and France midfielder Jerome Rothen says that Mbappe has a different mental challenge he has to overcome to graduate to the kind of level that Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo have attained over the last decade.

He’s taken all the criticism head on. Everyone will look at him differently. But if he finds simplicity and humility, we’ll no longer hear about the tactical or technical problems mentioned by Van Gaal
- Jerome Rothen

“It’s not tactically or technically that there’s a worry,” Rothen told RMC. “He missed chances at Euro 2020 and that is a question of confidence, and especially his state of mind. He wanted to change his status before the competition. I think it’s just a problem on ego.

“He’s taken all the criticism head on. Everyone will look at him differently. But if he finds simplicity and humility, we’ll no longer hear about the tactical or technical problems mentioned by Van Gaal.”

Van Gaal on Mbappe

Real Madrid transfer target Kylian Mbappe playing for PSG in Ligue 1, 2020/21

Speaking to L’Equipe, Van Gaal said: “Physically and technically, he is a fantastic player. But tactically, he is not yet at the highest level.

“When you can pass, dribble and lose the ball - and it happens a lot - is he playing for the team then? I'm wondering.

“It's called managing your status and your environment, as a human being. Are you showing modesty? Do you see the implications for your teammates? This kind of thing.”

Indeed, Rothen believes that Mbappe has been used out of position in recent times.

“I don’t think he should be on the left of a 4-2-3-1,” he argued. “He can’t play there because it takes a lot of effort. You have to give him freedom in the game and play him in the middle.”

Meanwhile, there has been little apparent movement in his contract situation with PSG, which is thought to be one of the issues that distracted him during Euro 2020.

Indeed, Mbappe’s future hangs genuinely in the balance, with PSG fighting as best they can to tie down one of their star players on a long-term deal amid interest from Real Madrid.