Laurent Blanc was as miffed as anyone as to why his Paris Saint-Germain side did not play to their full capabilities last Sunday. Olympique Lyonnais inflicted the first defeat of the season on the champions and thus brought to an end that incredible unbeaten run of 36 games. They were also celebrating in Nantes as Les Canaris’ record for the longest unbeaten run in a single season during the 1994/95 campaign remained intact (32). But, that aspiration of going an entire domestic league season unbeaten is now over for PSG.
It was something that had been mentioned on a few occasions by the coach and players to the media. They never shouted it from the rooftops but you can imagine that internally, it was something that they’d aspired to achieve. In the end it was not to be. A superior team beat us on the night, there is no denying it. Lyon fully deserved their win and it could have been by a greater margin had it not been for Kevin Trapp.
Blanc was very honest in his post-match comments. As quoted by the club’s official site he said; “If I had explanations, I would give them to my players. Nothing in our preparation suggested we would play so poorly. Lyon were the better side and deserved their win. They were much better than us in terms of their attitude. That was the key factor. They walked all over us and we didn’t answer the challenge. We had prepared well for this game. Were we too relaxed? I don’t know. We need to use this result to bounce back against Saint-Etienne on Wednesday.”
His final sentence is key. They need to bounce back tomorrow night in the cup where their character will be judged. They are seasoned pros, it should not be too much of a problem. But, teams – no matter how talented they are – do have blips during a campaign. Hopefully for us this is just a minor one with the second-leg against Chelsea looming just around the corner.
Tomorrow there is a place in the Coupe de France semi-final up for grabs. We face an old foe in Les Verts who we will be coming against for the seventh time in just 13 months. Numerous meetings in the Coupe de la Ligue, French Cup and of course the league have accumulated for an array of clashes over that period of time; PSG winning every one. Our record over Christophe Galtier’s men is domineering to say the least with nine wins on the bounce. Our last defeat to them actually came in a cup competition back in 2012 where they knocked us out of the League Cup on penalties at the quarter-final stage.
As the holders of the competition, we will be looking to book our place in the final four. There is added incentive for the players as they look to silence those lauding Lyon’s victory by getting back to winning ways as soon as possible.