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Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 18 December 2018

Unai Emery insists PSG growing stronger despite Uefa Champions League exit

Manager pleased with team's performance which saw them lift French League Cup on Saturday night

Kylian Mbappe seems to be doing well since he moved to Paris Saint-Germain in the summer of last year. Franck Fife / AFP
Kylian Mbappe seems to be doing well since he moved to Paris Saint-Germain in the summer of last year. Franck Fife / AFP

Despite their elimination from the Uefa Champions League, Paris Saint-Germain are "going well" said manager Unai Emery, while defending his record, after his team won the French League Cup final.

PSG beat Monaco 3-0 in Bordeaux on Saturday night in a final that created more debate over video replay, was followed by messages of congratulation from PSG's injured superstar, Neymar, and was accompanied by violence off the pitch which left four policemen hurt.

"I believe the club is going well," Emery said after PSG won the trophy for a fifth straight time. "It's stronger now to make history here in France and then to continue to grow abroad, in Europe and in the rest of the world."

Yet the main target this season had been Europe rather than a fourth domestic league title. The second straight elimination in the last 16 of the Champions League makes it unlikely his contract, which runs out in June, will be renewed.

Names of potential successors at PSG have begun to leak out with several French media saying the German Thomas Tuchel was the favourite.

"Even if there is a very, very solid project it can be difficult to keep patience," Emery said. "It's necessary to have patience and consistency."

Neymar, the club's biggest star, sent his congratulations from Brazil, where he is recuperating from foot surgery, singling out Dani Alves. Both should be part of the Brazil squad at the World Cup that starts on June 14.

Neymar posted a photo of the 34-year-old defender, who won his 36th trophy on Saturday, standing next to a collection of cups with the headline "Greatest champion in history."

In the accompanying text, mixing Portuguese and French, the striker wrote: "Congratulations to all, very happy for you!!! ALLEZ PARIS @psg @danialves this congratulations is more special for you brother, for whom trophies are part of this your history .. hopefully more will come, including July. I love you idol!"

Neymar also posted a video of the fourth-minute penalty kick by Edinson Cavani that put PSG ahead. Earlier this season, the two men fought over who should take a spot kick.

The penalty on Saturday followed a three-minute delay for video review after Monaco centre-back Kamil Glik brought down Kylian Mbappe. Later in the first half, Monaco had a goal by Radamel Falcao ruled out on review for a tight offside.

Even though video review benefited his team, PSG defender Presnel Kimpembe was uneasy.

"Today, it went in our favour, so we are going to say that we are happy, but the video is a problem," Kimpembe said. The delay meant the "players got cold, everyone was waiting, it was rather a pain in the neck."

Colombian striker Falcao was unhappy.

"I don't know what the referee could have seen on his video screen to give the penalty," the Monaco captain said. "This type of decision could kill football, above all when it isn't clear cut, notably for offside. We lost four minutes and then the referee only played two minutes of added time at the end of the first half."

The violence off the field involved confrontations between rival groups of PSG fans and supporters of both clubs and the police.

The match "was the scene of many clashes between the police and the supporters of the two teams who came to Bordeaux to fight," the French police union said in a statement, adding that four officers from special units were hurt, "some seriously".

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