There is a real feel good factor at the club at the moment and Laurent Blanc would love for that to continue with a victory over Lens later today. With the trip to London just a few days away for the return leg with Chelsea, it will be easy for Parisian minds to wander towards that. But, Blanc was adamant that the focus has solely been on today’s clash.
LB said in his pre-match presser; “We need the three points. With all due respect to Lens, victory is indispensable. We are playing at home and I’m hoping for maximum motivation and determination to win and then focus on the Champions League match against Chelsea. Lens will be doing everything they can to get a result. So we have to prepare very seriously… Chelsea is not the central topic of discussion between me and my players. I put Chelsea out of my mind to prepare for the two games against Monaco. I hope they will have their minds on Lens come Saturday. We will then have plenty of time to focus on Wednesday’s game”.
It is well known that our level of performance before a big European night can dip but after the victory in midweek against Monaco, the PSG fans will be hoping for a similar performance.
There were plenty of positives during the win. I have alluded to the midfield in the past few days but credit must be lauded on the front three of Ezequiel Lavezzi, Javier Pastore and Edinson Cavani. The two Argentines in particular were pivotal in our attacking intent and Cavani’s movement was excellent for his goal. Even though he was not heavily involved in terms of the general play, he did look sharp. But, the conundrum now is that Zlatan Ibrahimovic will return to the side which means Edi will be shifted back out wide. Having the big man back from suspension is of course welcomed but you can expect to see a slower tempo to our game as he plays the deeper role.
Thiago Motta is finally back in the squad after three weeks out. Blanc said on the matter; “It’s important to get our players back from injury because we have a very busy calendar. The good news is Thiago Motta is available again. He hasn’t played for three weeks, so we have to be a bit careful with him. He is a very important player in my squad, but he needs to be in good physical shape to play his best football”.
Thiago Silva meanwhile has been rested. He took an almighty whack to the cheek from a flailing Dimitar Berbatov arm which he has been nursing ever since. The coach said that the skipper has played a lot of football of late and could do with a rest ahead of the Chelsea game.
We are up against a Parisian favourite in Toni Kombouare who returns to the Parc des Princes for the first time as an opposition coach since he was relieved of his duties in December 2011. Les Sang et Or have not won a league game since December and are nine points adrift from safety. Their fate looks sealed unless they can find a dramatic upturn.
Speaking to Le Parisien Kombourare is looking forward to returning to the Parc but hopes for a performance from his players. He said; “It’ll give me something, but in our situation, what matters to me most is the way we play and make a good match. I spent thirteen years at PSG. I had the chance to occupy virtually every position. This club remains etched in me! I am always a supporter of PSG. I have many friends there and I wish them to win the Champions League and the league title”.