PARIS — Paris Saint-Germain left-back Layvin Kurzawa thanked his teammates after an unlikely hat trick in the Ligue 1 giants’ 5-0 rout of Anderlecht in the Champions League on Tuesday.
Marco Verratti and Neymar scored in the first half before Kurzawa helped himself to three second-half goals at Parc des Princes, which will help the France international fend off some of his critics because of a disappointing season so far.
Speaking after the final whistle in the French capital, the 25-year-old defender chose to focus on collective success, rather than individual.
“It is thanks to the team that I scored the three goals,” Kurzawa told journalists. “I am very happy with the win and happy to have kept another clean sheet — I hope we continue like this.
“When we enjoy our football, controlling the possession, taking people on, the supporters enjoy it and we always try to do our best for the fans, as well as for ourselves.”
PSG coach Unai Emery was very happy with the result and felt more pleased by the performance than the 4-0 win away at Anderlecht in Belgium earlier this month.
Like Kurzawa, the Spaniard also played up the role of the Parc des Princes crowd for contributing towards the spectacle.
“We got all three points,” said Emery. “It was important to perform well in front of our supporters here at Parc des Princes, they cheered us on throughout the match. It was important to work hard for them.
“I thought we played well for the full 90 minutes here. In the first game against them, we gave them too much space and conceded too many chances. We gave them nothing this time. They only had two or three half chances. That is what we keep working for — to keep improving as a team.”
Captain Thiago Silva felt that the heavy nature of the final score was the reward for a hard week of work in the build-up to the encounter.
“I think all our hard work this week has paid off,” the Brazil international said. “The whole team played with a lot of character and desire and I think when we play like that, it is difficult for any team to come to face us at the Parc.
“We showed that PSG are very strong side but now we need to keep going.”
PSG chairman and CEO Nasser Al-Khelaifi was delighted that the team have booked their place in the latter stages with two rounds of fixtures to spare and the Qatari boss stressed the “high quality” of the performance and the desire to finish top of Group B.
“I think it was a very important match for us,” said Al-Khelaifi. “We needed to continue our winning ways in the competition, so a 5-0 win does that.
“As well as the high quality of our play, the five goals were important. I thought we were excellent tonight — it was the perfect game.
“We did the job and now we have to focus on our next match. Our main aim is to finish top of the group. We have qualified for the latter stages but the most important thing is to top the group.”
PSG travel to face Angers this Saturday evening in Ligue 1 before the final international break of 2017.
Jonathan Johnson covers PSG and the French national team for ESPN FC. Twitter: @Jon_LeGossip.