Luis Enrique stands firmly at PSG in an era of power for the players

PARIS.- Kylian Mbappé could return to the substitute bench when a Paris Saint-Germain that rides at the top of the French league faces the bottom Clermont or at least that is what the outlook looks like with the measures that the technical director has taken Luis Enrique.

Mbappé leads the Ligue 1 scoring table with 24 conquests and Clermont has the second worst defense of the 18 teams in the first division with 46 conceded. It is a favorable opportunity for the top scorer in the history of the PSGauthor of 251 goals, increase his harvest.

But Luis Enrique has other ideas.

Their priority is next week's clash against Barcelona in the first leg of the Champions League quarterfinals at the Parque de los PrÃncipes.

The Spanish coach showed his authority in recent weeks, either by leaving Mbappé on the bench or taking him out during important games.

Many were perplexed when Mbappé was substituted at half-time against Monaco on March 1 and the score was 0-0.

Last Sunday, the world champion in Russia 2018 could not believe it when Luis Enrique pulled him out midway through the second half of the classic against Olympique de Marseille.

“It's the same music every week,†Luis Enrique responded when asked about the substitution. “It's very tiring. I'm the coach, I make the decisions every day and I will do the same every week until my last day in Paris. I always try to find the best solution for my team.”

Mbappé was not the only one who was amazed at Luis Enrique's audacity.

For some PSG fans, replacing the club's best player against the archrival was sacrilege, especially with a tenuous 1-0 lead. Furthermore, the Parisians were outnumbered due to an expulsion.

Mbappé appeared to utter an obscenity towards Luis Enrique as he left the field wet from the rain. The alleged insult immediately went viral and became the talk of the media.

Response from Luis Enrique:

Luis Enrique didn't even flinch when Mbappé walked past him at the Stade Velodrome and answered the questions at the subsequent press conference. His change was accurate. Attacker Gonçalo Ramos, who came on for Mbappé, scored PSG's second goal in the 2-0 victory.

This is a player-coach fight, and the French press speculates that it is all due to Mbappé contemplating leaving PSG at the end of the season. Luis Enrique remains firm in an era in which players exercise immense power.

The results support the Iberian, the former Barcelona and Spain national team coach.

PSG has not lost since the beginning of November, unbeaten in 26 games and 12 points ahead at the top of the French league. Rotating Mbappé has paid dividends.

Four days after that match against Monaco, he scored both goals in a 2-1 victory against Real Sociedad to secure a place in the quarterfinals of the Champions League.

If Luis Enrique decides to rest Mbappé against Clermont, then Barcelona could pay the price.

“I would love for the story to end beautifully for PSG and for Mbappé, for everyone,” said Luis Enrique. “We are all in the same boat.”