Emery hails Di Maria as PSG see off Lille

Updated: 

Paris Saint-Germain head coach Unai Emery has praised Angel Di Maria in the wake of Friday's narrow 1-0 Ligue 1 win over Lille.

The Argentina international was heavily criticised after PSG's goalless draw versus Marseille last week, but showed improvement at the Stade Pierre-Mauroy.

Di Maria set up Edinson Cavani for the second-half winner, while he also had a goal controversially disallowed for handball before the break.

Emery feels the performance will have boosted his winger's confidence in the week where he missed out on the 30-man Ballon d'Or shortlist.

"Di Maria is important for the team and he made some good runs," Emery told reporters.

"He had a goal disallowed and got the assist for Cavani's goal. It's good for his confidence."

PSG struggled to open the scoring despite creating a number of chances, but Emery was pleased to see his side take home the full three points in the end.

"It was a difficult match against a team that defended well," he added.

"We got plenty of chances to score in the first half, but we were unable to find the net. We continued on the same path in the second half. We did not create as many chances after the break, but we scored at last.

"We created enough chances, but were lacking efficiency a bit. But I prefer a game where we get six chances without scoring over a game where we score from our only chance. 

"It was important to win here for our confidence and to return to second place in the table."