Closed face, tight jaw, serious look as if he was already in a psychological duel with Kylian Mbappé. Present at a press conference this Monday, on the eve of the match between AC Milan and Paris Saint-Germain in the Champions League, Mike Maignan did not ignore the bad patch the Italian club is going through. The Rossoneri remain in three matches without a victory in Serie A, including a defeat on Saturday against Udinese (0-1), and also lost at the Parc des Princes two weeks ago (3-0).
“We are working hard to react, to regain our best level and our confidence,” explained Maignan, the last bastion of a team with its back to the wall in C1. AC Milan is 4th in Group F with 2 points, behind Paris (6), Dortmund (4) and Newcastle (4). Maignan, trained at PSG which he left in 2015 without ever establishing himself there, will find a club which is dear to him, and which did him no favors during the first round at the Parc. But there is no question of thinking about the symbolism of the match in his eyes.
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“At this moment, there is no room for emotions,” said the French team goalkeeper. We know what we have to do, we have to concentrate on football. Relaunched on the case of Kylian Mbappé, his teammate with the Blues, Maignan has still not cracked the slightest smile: “Kylian is a world-class player, he has a lot of strengths, he is very difficult to read.” Should we be wary of his “special”, his dribble towards the axis from the right side before shooting at the near post? “You have to try to anticipate certain things, even if it goes very quickly,” Maignan brushed off.
Asked about a supposed lack of leadership at AC Milan since the retirement of Zlatan Ibrahimovic this summer, and his ability to gain weight in the locker room, Maignan was still categorical. “We lost Ibra, we lost a leader, certainly,” admitted the 28-year-old goalkeeper, who sees himself as a “natural leader” who only does “what I know how to do.” “I have a lot of respect for him (Ibrahimovic) but he is no longer there. The past is behind us,” said Maignan. The future is this Tuesday (9 p.m.) with an almost obligatory victory for AC Milan against PSG.