Poor Laurent Blanc, you just knew that soon as the final whistle blew on the dreadful 4-2 defeat to Bastia last night that the knives in the press were beginning to sharpen. His future has always been questioned but now more so than ever after PSG capitulated in a way we have not seen for some time.
The result will indicate that the problems lie with the coach but it is just not the case. His players let him down massively! We played some terrific football in the opening 25 minutes and we were clinical. We sailed into a 2-0 lead within 20 minutes which did not flatter us. We were well worth the two goal lead. But, as PSG supporters are aware of, we love to make things difficult for ourselves and that is exactly what happened.
We took our foot off the gas, taking for granted the 2-0 lead. For the experience we have in that side this should not be happening. Blanc alluded to this in his post-match presser, even saying some of his players showed a lack of ‘respect’ towards the opposition; “We forgot the fundamentals, like not taking your foot of the gas. In terms of our football, in terms of our attitude towards our opponent – I think certain players took it easy. I think it showed a lack of respect to this Bastia side after the opening 35 minutes, and they made us pay. It’s never easy winning in Bastia, it’s not easy to win in Guingamp. You have to respect these sides”.
There is nothing Blanc could have done with the concession of the penalty that got SCB back in the game, nor the shoddy defending from the corner for the equaliser on the stroke of half-time. Then of course the wonder strike by Julian Palmieri which nobody could have envisaged! If you had two Nicolas Douchez’s in between the sticks it still would have gone in!
But the response was not great. For all our possession we created very little in the final third. Thiago Silva rattled the bar and Lucas went close with a header – but that was it! Blanc is not one for his tactical nous but he was limited with his choice from the bench. Marco Verratti come on for the injured Yohan Cabaye and Jean-Christophe Bahebeck in place of Blaise Matuidi but the system remained the same; 4-3-3.
It was predictable. But the biggest gripe for me is that we lack another striker. I will keep saying it, two strikers is not enough! Zlatan Ibrahimovic was ineffective last night but it is not as if there was someone to bring on to help.
The situation with Ezequiel Lavezzi and Edinson Cavani (both suspended by the club for the game) has not helped. Blanc was very honest with his comments about this; “The worst thing is we are punishing ourselves”. And he is right. The club needed to take a stance here but because of it we have suffered. There is no guarantee the two would have made an effect last night – as it was the defence that ultimately let us down – but it would have been nice to call upon the two, especially Cavani.
The club posted a photo on Instagram this morning of ‘El Matador’ training with the squad again. This may mean he will be back in contention.
The whole situation is not good. The quarter-final of the Coupe de la Ligue against Saint-Etienne on Tuesday is critical for Blanc. Fair or not, the hierarchy at the club will not tolerate being knocked out after the debacle yesterday.