Emery: Neymar needs time to become PSG's Messi
Neymar must continue to adapt and improve after his flying start to life at Paris Saint-Germain if he is to become the club's version of Lionel Messi, according to head coach Unai Emery.
The Brazil superstar has scored nine goals across all competitions for the Ligue 1 leaders, as well as chipping in with eight assists, since joining from Barcelona for a world-record €222million in August.
Neymar will face Marseille in Ligue 1 on Sunday – a fixture that serves as France's answer to the Clasico meeting with Real Madrid he enjoyed in LaLiga.
Emery was asked at a pre-match news conference how long it would take Neymar to become the "Lionel Messi of PSG" and he described the forward as being in a stage of ongoing development, despite his stellar form.
"He needs to be given time to adapt to his team-mates and to our style of play," Emery said. "He needs to handle his opponents' aggression towards him. However, he has individual quality and 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.
"The adaptation is not taking one week or six months but longer. Neymar is a great player, he plays like Neymar. Our role is to help him growing up by staying himself."
Que Deus nos abençoe e nos proteja
God bless and protect us pic.twitter.com/vcPTyIttEa
— Neymar Jr (@neymarjr) October 18, 2017
Julian Draxer is one the players who has found first-team opportunities in attack limited since the arrival of Neymar and Kylian Mbappe but the Germany international has impressed his boss with his capacity to operate from a deeper midfield role.
"Julian can really help the team," Emery 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."
A 5-1 win at Marseille last season served as one of the highlights of PSG's campaign and Emery is fully away of the weight carried by the upcoming fixture against Rudi Garcia's men.
"In Spain, when you watch European football, particularly French football, you know that Marseille-PSG is a big match," he explained. "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."