I really did not want to get into this because the subject seems absolutely absurd. After the defeat to Chelsea at Stamford Bridge last week, Laurent Blanc’s future has come into serious doubt. This intensified further on Sunday after the 1-0 defeat to Lyon. It is amazing that just a week ago everything seemed rosy in the garden. Yet, after being knocked out of the Champions League, there is a real bitter feeling surrounding the club. But, for the coach’s future to come into doubt after what he has done this season is ridiculous.
You cannot judge a coach on one game. You just can’t. I have said in the past week that Blanc’s mentality was flawed in London as he opted to stick rather than twist. We should have gone for an away goal in the opening 20 minutes when we were bossing possession as we had the better of the early sparing. Yet we were too casual and subsequently we got punished. But to lay all the blame at Blanc’s doorstep is mightily unfair.
Ever since that night at the Bridge, there have been reports that QSI are having cold feet at extending his contract. Yet just a week or so before that Nasser Al-Khelaifi was lauding him to high heaven as a ‘great coach’ who will be offered a contract extension. Surely he has not changed his mind based on one game of football? But in these modern times for the sport, you just do not know. Al-Khelaifi is an intelligent man but maybe he was blinded by the 3-1 aggregate lead and fully expected Les Parisiens to progress. He would not be alone in that thinking. Many thought the job was done but that just shows naivety at the highest level. Chelsea has a European pedigree that we can only dream of and it is going to take time to get anywhere near it. And that is exactly what PSG needs with a coach who can build for it. So he can learn by mistakes, make us better from it and ultimately succeed. Where is the logic in hiring a third coach in 28 months?
Carlo Ancelotti was amazing for this club. For me, he played the biggest part of all in laying the foundations with his reputation, ability to sign the ‘right’ type of player such as Thiago Motta / Maxwell and instilled a winning mentality. However as soon as Real Madrid made their voices heard, he was always going to leave. Blanc ultimately came in as QSI’s last choice pick but look at the job he has done. The team has broken records, Zlatan Ibrahimovic is playing his best ever football under his stewardship, the form at the Parc des Princes is imperious and the football is riveting. The best it has been for years. He has taken the good work done by ‘Carletto’ and enhanced it further.
Blanc is a very shrewd character himself. He has played his cards close to his chest mostly when asked about his future. This is a big summer for the club. Most probably a new director of football is coming in which could play a significant role in the coach’s future. Whether or not Blanc would be entirely happy with that, I am not too sure. Ultimately that played a part in Ancelotti’s decision to leave as he became a little disillusioned with too much interference from above in his work.
The defeat in Lyon on Sunday will have no bearing on Blanc (although it didn’t really help) but a loss on Saturday in the cup final could be massive. It is pretty obvious that he needs to win that as the pressure will intensify. The man himself has said that he will wait until after the final for a decision to be made. If that was not apparent enough that the Parisien hierarchy are waiting on the result of that then I don’t know what is.
He deserves an extension. No matter what the result is on Saturday he should get one. To discredit all the good work he has done based on a poor performance in London is pretty cruel. The league is sewn up. It will also be the first retention in the club’s history. And we have every chance of winning the cup at the Stade de France in four days’ time where ultimately QSI will decide his fate. As sad as that sounds, it seems to be a stark reality.
The man has been a credit and I truly hope the right thing is done. And that is Laurent Blanc putting pen to paper as soon as possible.