It will be another afternoon of rotation for Laurent Blanc tomorrow ahead of a gruelling trip to Donetsk next week. The games continue to come thick and fast for the champions so the coach will be keen to freshen things up again with Shaktar coming up next Wednesday.
Although the Ukrainians suffered a 4-0 defeat away to Real Madrid on matchday-one over a week and half ago – which is by no means a disgrace – their home record in Europe is certainly admirable.
LB was asked about squad rotation in today’s pre-match presser. He more or less confirmed that he will save his strongest team for next week as he believes the club cannot afford to take the risk with Europe being the main goal this season. He said; “Along with my staff I had a think and tried to anticipate certain things that could be dangerous for us. Every match is important but you can have a bad night in the league and then still have a chance to make up for it. The Champions League is a mini-league of six matches. You can’t afford any false steps.”
Tomorrow we are facing a Nantes side who have suffered three consecutive 2-0 losses in the league. They started the season well, with two wins and a draw but have found form hard to come by in recent weeks.
Our record at the Stade de la Beaujoire is formidable. No defeat there in over a decade, since a 1-0 loss in October 2004. Last season, even though the title was wrapped up, we still ran out 2-0 victors thanks to goals from Blaise Matuidi and Edinson Cavani.
The little maestro Marco Verratti spoke to the press earlier and gave the right message by saying; “We’re taking on Nantes, a good team, in their own stadium in front of their own fans. It’s always tough playing there. We need to go there with a strong mentality, looking for a win.”
The countdown is on for Zlatan Ibrahimovic to become the club’s all time leading goalscorer after netting his first goal of the season on Tuesday during the 3-0 win over Guingamp. That put him on 107, just two shy of the record, 109 The great Pauleta, the man who he is about to succeed was very humble when interviewed by Le Parisien by saying; “Ibra deserves to dethrone me”.