Unai Emery sees Edinson Cavani’s blistering start to the 2016-17 season as an example for the rest of his Paris Saint-Germain squad to follow.
Cavani has scored 12 goals in 10 appearances in all competitions for PSG so far this term, emphatically answering questions over his ability to fill the void left by Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s departure.
Having seen the Uruguayan rise to the challenge levelled at him, the coach hopes other players in his squad can follow suit, in particular new additions like Grzegorz Krychowiak, who is reportedly unhappy with his lack of game time in Paris.
“The team is working well, with the intention to improve, and they listen. We can play better than we did in our last game [a 2-1 win away at Nancy],” said Emery ahead of Wednesday’s Champions League meeting with Basel.
“They’ve done the work we wanted them to do. That’s the first thing, and after that we have a team with a lot of quality and growing confidence.
“Look at Edinson Cavani. People wanted him to score more goals and now everyone is happy. The quality in the team is clear.
“The new players have to adapt to the team, Grzegorz Krychowiak included. It’s a question of personal progression and working for the team, but it’s important to have competition in the squad.
“We want to improve our position in the league and how we play tactically, and improvement breeds confidence. There are some players who aren’t at their best, but I have confidence in them.”
PSG are joint-top with Arsenal in Group A, three points clear of Ludogorets and Basel, but Emery is not underestimating the Swiss champions.
“Basel have lots of experienced players, and international players. They’re very competitive and used to winning in their league. If they’re in the Champions League, it’s because they deserve it. We respect them,” he added.
According to Blaise Matuidi, the Ligue 1 champions are more interested in reaching the knockout stages than finishing top of the group.
“The first goal is qualification, but if we can have first place as the icing on the cake that’d be good,” said Matuidi.
“For that we need a win tomorrow and to see what happens after. The game against Basel will be difficult, but we’re prepared. We expect a difficult game, but that’s how it is in the Champions League.
“Every game is difficult. Here we’ll play a team wanting to do their best to take points because they’re low in the table. They’re here to put us off our stride.”