It is back to domestic matters for Paris Saint-Germain tomorrow afternoon following Tuesday’s exemplary performance against Chelsea.
Les Parisiens have been praised for what was a spirited, heartfelt display where they warranted more than just a 1-1 draw. The result of course has been met with a wry smile by Blues boss Jose Mourinho as he knows the Premier League leaders have the advantage in the return-leg in three weeks’ time. The special one admitted following the conclusion of the match that his side were lucky to leave the French capital with a draw. He said; “We could have lost so the result is a positive one. I don’t say very good because it depends on the result of the second leg but I say positive result against a very good team, a team with fantastic attacking players. It was a difficult match. When you see the performance of our goalkeeper you have to say yes we were lucky to get a draw because our goalkeeper made two or three important saves in the game”.
That admission in itself is a testament to how well PSG played. I said in my match report that the level headedness our players to remain so composed – even after falling a goal behind – was exceptional. They were patient, dominated possession and created the better openings. Had it not been for an inspired performance by their goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois, we could have been talking about heading to West London with an aggregate lead.
It is no secret that the players perform better on the European nights. The motivation is greater than it is domestically but Coach Blanc says the players should be just as pumped up domestically as they are in the Champions League. He said in today’s pre-match presser; “If we can produce the performance on Saturday against Toulouse as we did against Chelsea on Tuesday, everyone will be happy! There were a lot of positives in the game. By reproducing this type of performance, the results will be better than just a draw, like on Tuesday. It’s important to make the difference in terms of our desire and claim all three points. The Champions League is a very exciting competition for everyone. It costs us points in the league, but it’s a great competition! But we need the points so the players should be just as motivated on Saturday as they were in the Champions League. Everyone needs to play their best to get three important points”.
The midfield trio on the night were fantastic! But we will have to make do without David Luiz and Marco Verratti who are suspended. Thiago Motta is still injured, as is Yohan Cabaye. So we are left with a depleted midfield. Javier Pastore will probably drop into the midfield trio alongside Adrien Rabiot and Blaise Matuidi. Blanc will no doubt rotate his team but he has been forced to do so rather than out of choice which is worrying.
We face a Toulouse side that have had an horrendous winter and sit just a place above the relegation zone. They will be buoyed by their last two results at home which have been wins against Stade de Reims and Rennes. But they have not won at the Parc des Princes since 2008 when Zoumana Camara scored an own-goal just after the hour mark.
Victory will FINALLY put us on top of the pile for the first time this season with Marseille and Lyon playing on Sunday. After the lunacy against Caen last week though, let’s see how it pans out.