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Blanc happy to welcome back Verratti

Marco Verratti could return to action for Paris Saint-Germain in Saturday’s Coupe de la Ligue final against Lille.

Italy midfielder Verratti has been sidelined since February with a groin problem, during which time PSG completed their march to the Ligue 1 title but were knocked out of the Champions League by Manchester City to fall at the quarter-final stage for the fourth consecutive season.

The 23-year-old is now back in full training with Laurent Blanc’s squad but the coach remains eager not to ask too much of Verratti too soon.

“His injury is delicate, it takes patience,” said Blanc, who also hopes to welcome Verratti’s international team-mate Thiago Motta back from a hamstring strain. “It has taken time and hard work on the part of the player and the staff.

“Marco is training normally, I am happy for him. I cannot say more. Hopefully he will be in the group tomorrow [Saturday].

“For the first time in years, the whole group is training. For a long time this has not happened. It’s good news.”

PSG are aiming to repeat their feat of a domestic treble last season but Blanc concedes having Saturday’s encounter and the Coupe de France final against Marseille as their only two matches with anything at stake could affect his side’s competitive edge.

“Our opponent last year [Barcelona] won the Champions League. This is not the same context,” he explained.

“It was necessary to be motivated in the league last year but now the championship is completed.

“We still have two games to challenge ourselves, two finals. I hope we will have the physical and mental resources to play at our level.”

Blanc added: “Lille have talented players, have got results and are sturdy defensively. They are still fresh physically; this is not the case for us.”

Fri 22 Apr, 2016
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