Kylian Mbappe said Paris Saint-Germain are "going to need Lionel Messi" as the Frenchman revealed why he gave up a chance to compete a hat-trick from the penalty spot in the 4-1 victory over Club Brugge.
Mbappe struck twice inside the opening seven minutes before setting up Messi's first goal in a scintillating first-half performance.
Despite being on a hat-trick, the 22-year-old was not the man to step up to the spot when a penalty was awarded to PSG in the second half, with Messi grabbing his second goal of the game instead.
Mbappe explained that it was more important for Messi, whose start to life in France has been mixed, to build form and confidence than it was for him to take home the match ball.
"We are going to need Lionel Messi," Mbappe said after the game. "He remains Lionel Messi. We are going to need him during the season, and I am sure he will help us when the important [games] arrive.
"He has to arrive with confidence for these matches. It is good for him that he finishes with two goals, but it is also good for us for the future."
3 - Lionel Messi has found the net in his first 3 home games with Paris in the Champions League (3 goals), only George Weah in 1994 and Neymar in 2017 have also achieved this with PSG in the competition. Confidence. #PSGCLU pic.twitter.com/a6xYriIhJW— OptaJean (@OptaJean) December 7, 2021
Mbappe insisted he was more concerned with the wider welfare of the team than his own individual goals and praised his colleagues for their part in his strong showings this term. He has 11 goals and 12 assists in 22 appearances across all competitions so far.
"I'm trying to help the team," Mbappe told RMC Sport. "It's not my goal to show who the boss is. I try to help the team, and my team-mates give it back to me so that I perform well too."
PSG head coach Mauricio Pochettino gave the penalty decision his blessing, waxing lyrical about the blossoming relationships among his set of superstar players.
Pochettino said: "I'm happy that Leo and Kylian scored two goals, they are attacking players who need to know the way to the net.
"They can all take the penalty, with their quality. It is up to them to identify, at the moment, who needs it most, who is the most confident. This is something they decide for themselves on the pitch.
"You can say Leo, Kylian, Ney [Neymar], Angel [Di Maria], Marquinhos, Verratti. They can all take a penalty, but in the moment it's a matter of trust and taking responsibility.
"I believe that creating these relationships, the way they get closer, appreciate each other, respect each other, gives even more strength to their talent. But all these things take time. The seed is planted, the buds come out and in time there will be a plant, a tree and beautiful flowers."