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´Big changes will happen´ – PSG president Al-Khelaifi refuses to back Blanc

Paris Saint-Germain president Nasser Al-Khelaifi did not offer any backing to coach Laurent Blanc as he called for “a new cycle” and “big changes” in the French capital.

For the second successive season PSG completed a clean sweep of domestic trophies, triumphing in the Trophee des Champions, the Coupe de la Liga, the Coupe de France and Ligue 1 – the latter with a record points total of 96.

However, elimination from the Champions League at the quarter-final stage for a fourth campaign running has left a bitter taste in the president’s mouth.

Asked whether he could confirm Blanc would be at the helm for the start of the 2016-17 season by Le Parisien, Al-Khelaifi replied: “I will not speak of particular cases. Big changes will happen. A new cycle will start, you’ll see. In any case, if we continue like this on all levels we will not get there.

“Two hours before the return leg in Manchester [PSG lost 3-2 on aggregate to Manchester City], I knew we were going to lose. I did not feel anything from the players and I said to a member of staff they were not ready to fight.

“We lost before playing. Whose fault is it? This must never happen again.

“I’m just an observer and I analyse the results and competencies of all: the players, the coach, the management. We need change.

“I have supported him for three years. Now we must think about what we will do next season to build a stronger team in Europe.”

Al-Khelaifi subsequently labelled the 2015-16 season a “failure” and suggested it is not just in the dugout where “wholesale changes” could take place.

“Honestly, I think we failed this season despite trophies at a national level. We did not meet our European target, so it’s a bad season,” he said.

“I’ve been here for five years and this is the first time we have had this sense of failure. It’s not just the fact of having lost in the quarter-finals of the Champions League that makes me say that, it’s how it happened.

“I am very disappointed. We were not mentally ready and we are all responsible.

“This elimination is the worst since I have been in Paris. It is very difficult to accept.

“I repeat, this is the first time we have failed and I have to ask myself the right questions: should I chance my leadership? Should I change people? Should I change system? Should I change the players? I will reflect and wholesale changes could happen.

“You will see when the time comes. It will not be easy for everyone, but it’s time to change. After five years, you must start a new cycle.

“We dream big. I have said since my arrival, we want to win the Champions League and I will not give up.

“I am confident that one day we will go down the Champs Elysees with this trophy, but to get there you have to change some things. And I hope that failure against Manchester City will allow us to be stronger in the future.”

Former sporting director has been linked with a return as Blanc’s replacement, but Al-Khelaifi ruled such an appointment out.

“I have a very good relationship with him,” added the Qatari. “One day, perhaps, but for the moment he is not part of the project.”

Fri 3 Jun, 2016
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