Monday, May 29, 2017

Blanc counting on returning stars for second leg

SoccerNews in Ligue 1 15 Apr 2015

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Key players returning from injury and suspension will aid Paris Saint-Germain’s chances of overturning their 3-1 UEFA Champions League deficit against Barcelona, according to coach Laurent Blanc.

The French champions were beaten convincingly by their Liga counterparts in the quarter-final first leg on Wednesday, with Luis Suarez scoring twice after Neymar’s opener.

Gregory van der Wiel’s deflected strike gave PSG hope late on, but Blanc’s men face an uphill task to avoid a third consecutive quarter-final exit in the competition.

PSG captain Thiago Silva was withdrawn early on with an injury – sparking fears of a potential lay-off – but with Marco Verratti and Zlatan Ibrahimovic due to return from suspension for the second leg and Thiago Motta in the running to recover from a thigh problem, Blanc is confident of putting on a strong show at Camp Nou next week.

“When you have a philosophy to have the ball, it’s more difficult when you have to chase,” he told beIN Sports.

“Despite this, the players gave their all but tonight it was not enough to make a good result.

“Barcelona were above us in all areas of the game. By playing every three days, we obviously lose a little.

“For the return, we will recover suspensions and injuries so you should see the development. What I understand is that the disappointment is great.

“We have to dive into an important league game [against Nice on Saturday] and we will recover, I hope, some key players.”

Van der Wiel, who saw an effort deflected past Marc-Andre ter Stegen via Jeremy Mathieu, spoke of his frustration at lax defending.

“We are very disappointed. We needed to be better defensively, they scored too easily,” the full-back told Canal+.

“They scored three goals away from home so it will be very difficult for us [to progress].”

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