In five meetings against his former club since being the coach of Paris Saint-Germain, Laurent Blanc has won every single one. Dating back to that very first in the Trophee des Champions in Gabon back in 2013, the coach has cast a spell over his former employers. Tonight, he will be hoping for more of the same in our round-of-32 clash with Bordeaux in the Coupe de France.
The coach will be buoyed by the 4-2 victory over Evian back on Sunday. However, he is under no illusions that the performance was anywhere near perfect. Going behind early on and then conceding a sloppy own goal epitomised yet again our lack of concentration – something Thiago Silva alluded to after the game. The skipper said the group/staff will be discussing a solution for this but credit to the players, they did show a lot of character in the win. Heads could have easily dropped and to be honest, they dominated the visitors from the moment they conceded the first goal via Cedric Barbosa.
We have a good opportunity to extend another cup run tonight. We are in the last-four of the Coupe de la Ligue where we will meet Lille away from home but the Coupe de France is a competition that the club has a rich history in. We haven’t lifted the trophy for what will be five years come the spring and Blanc is keen to go all the way. He said in yesterday’s presser; “It’s a great competition. It’s the oldest competition in France. Every team in the country starts equal, whether they be professionals or amateurs. There are always surprises and that’s why it remains so important for the fans in France. It’s also the case for the players. We want to win it, but for the clubs playing in Europe, the calendar really isn’t easy. If we don’t have any problems with injuries or suspensions, we will have a competitive team with the potential to go all the way. We will try and get through this round. On a personal level, I would like to win it. Same for the players because there are a lot who haven’t won it. It’s an extra source of motivation for Wednesday night.”
He alluded to players being out via suspension. Well, he has had to plan for that tonight as there are currently five players who are a booking away from being suspended; Zlatan Ibrahimovic, David Luiz, Blaise Matuidi, Marco Verratti and Clement Chantome. So, the coach has decided to rest Luiz and Matuidi to avoid the risk of having so many senior players out for one game.
That will ultimately mean that Marquinhos will start at centre-back. The young Brazilian is adored at the Parc des Princes ever since that heroic performance in the
3-2 win over Barcelona last September. Le Parisien did a poll earlier in the week asking PSG fans if they think he should be starting every game? An overwhelming 90% said yes. That is the biggest compliment you can give the lad right there.
Blanc was keen to pay homage to his player when asked about him in the presser; “He will have opportunities to play. He has an exceptional attitude. It’s fantastic to have a have a player like him in your squad. He knows how to put himself at the disposal of the team and that’s very important for a coach. He is also a great footballer”.
We are coming up against an FCGB side whose only win this year came in this competition. That was at home to Toulouse where they won 2-1.
Willy Sagnol’s men have gone off the boil. When we played in L1 last October they were third in the table. It was around that time though that the coach had to come out in the press and rubbish claims that he had ‘crisis’ talks with his players after a slight dip in form. Despite both sides going down to 10-men, we ran out 3-0 winners at the Parc. We did this without a recognised striker as Zlatan and Edinson Cavani were out. Even Jean-Christophe Bahebeck was substituted to compensate for the red card.
Lucas Moura played like a leader on the day as he netted two penalties. That game in particular stands out as one his most influential performances. More because of his attitude than his skill – and that wasn’t bad either!