Neymar 'certain' to get even better as he adjusts to PSG - Unai Emery
PARIS -- Paris Saint-Germain coach Unai Emery says Neymar still needs time to adapt to his new team, despite six goals and five assists in Ligue 1 alone since his summer move from Barcelona.
Neymar and his new teammates will take on bitter rivals Marseille in Le Classique at Stade Velodrome on Sunday, and Emery said that although Neymar's "individual quality" is massive, there is still room for improvement once he is more settled.
"He needs to be given time to adapt to his teammates and to our style of play," Emery said at his prematch news conference on Friday. "This takes some getting used to.
"He needs to handle his opponents' aggression towards him. However, he has individual quality, talent. He is Neymar -- we will do what we can to help him bring his talent to this team.
"We are working with him with videos to look at what he can improve, how he can position himself better, work the transitions a bit better and stuff like that. He likes footwork. It is a process and it is certain that he will improve."
Julian Draxler is one of a number of players who have found playing time harder to come by since Neymar and Kylian Mbappe's arrivals this summer. But Emery is convinced that the Germany international still has a role to play at Parc des Princes -- even if it is from midfield.
"Julian can really help the team," he said. "Against Bordeaux, he played very well in midfield.
"He has also played in this position at international level. He is capable of mastering it and as far as technique is concerned, he is very positive."
Angel Di Maria, like Draxler, has also found himself marginalised, but the Argentina international did make the most of his substitute appearance in the 4-0 Champions League win away to Anderlecht in midweek by scoring the final goal.
Emery admitted that although he would like to play Di Maria more regularly, greater competition for places means he will have to make the most of the chances he gets as a substitute.
"Angel? This season, there is greater competition," Emery said. "He struggled a bit at times a little last campaign.
"The club has made a massive effort to make the team more competitive. We have players who all want to play, that is my problem. The substitutes who come on are all very important."
Captain Thiago Silva was a late withdrawal from the squad for the Anderlecht clash on Wednesday and Emery said the Brazil international is progressing well as he tries to prove his fitness in time for Sunday's trip to Marseille.
"We will see how Thiago is but he is progressing well," said Emery of the skipper. "He trained on Thursday and again today."
Le Classique is still Ligue 1's most prestigious fixture and Emery was adamant that his squad are well aware of its importance despite boasting so many foreign stars.
"In Spain, when you watch European football, particularly French football, you know that Marseille-PSG is a big match," he said. "The players know that it is a different game for the supporters all over France -- they are aware of its importance.
"The five French players in the starting XI emphasise its significance. Players such as Thiago [Silva], Marco [Verratti] and Marquinhos, who have already experienced it, they also know that it is important -- every single player wants to play in the big games.
"Marseille possess a lot of very good players. OM are a reference in French football and they will want to be at their best against us, particularly in front of their supporters. They are a complete team and they have improved, they also have a good coach.
"We are used to hostile atmospheres. Our fans will not be there, so we will play for them. I love it when stadiums are full, so that there are as many people watching as possible."
After Marseille at Stade Velodrome this weekend, Nice will visit Parc des Princes before the second Champions League Group B encounter against Anderlecht to round off October's action.
Jonathan Johnson covers PSG and the French national team for ESPN FC. Twitter: @Jon_LeGossip.