Jules Kounde on Barcelona’s plan for PSG’s Kylian Mbappe: ‘We have to stop him collectively’


Barcelona’s chances of reaching their first Champions League semi-final in five years are almost entirely dependant on their ability to contain Paris Saint-Germain superstar Kylian Mbappe for the 180 minutes of their quarter-final tie, and there has been plenty of talk about coach Xavi Hernández’s strategy to deal with the French superstar.

We won’t know Barça’s plan to contain Mbappe until the game begins, but the media tried to get the answer from one of Mbappe’s international teammates as Jules Kounde spoke in a press conference on Tuesday about the defender’s role in helping stop one of the world’s best players.

There is a doubt about whether or not Kounde will play as a center-back or right-back, potentially switching places with Ronald Araujo depending on Mbappe’s position. But according to Kounde his role is not important, and he’s happy to play wherever Xavi decides.

And Jules thinks it’ll take the entire team to stopp Mbappe.

“I don’t have any preference, now I’m playing as a full-back but I’m a centre-back, I don’t have a preference, wherever the coach puts me, I’ll play. We will see what the coach decides.

“I know him well because we played together in France, he is a player who makes the difference. We will try to stop him, especially on a collective level, it takes much more than a single player.

“You have many questions about Mbappé (laughs), I would prefer to talk about ourselves. I have no preference, wherever the coach puts me I will try to do my best.”

Kounde’s attitude to play out of position has always been admirable since his arrival at Barça, and now he looks more comfortable in that role after nearly two years of almost being forced to do it for various reasons.

And he’s also right that stopping a player of Mbappe’s quality takes a team effort, and that he’s good enough to punish any mistake Barça make in either of the two legs. The good news is Barça have a lot more quality in their defense compared to three years ago when Mbappe destroyed the Blaugrana almost by himself in a Champions League Round of 16 tie, so the Catalans’ chances of containing him are certainly better now.

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