Laurent Blanc must balance respecting the passion of Paris Saint-Germain’s supporters with a need to avoid disrupting his squad’s harmony ahead of Sunday’s Classique at home to Marseille.
Meetings between French powerhouses PSG and Marseille are among the most eagerly anticipated fixtures in the Ligue 1 calendar.
Earning bragging rights over the side from the Stade Velodrome is all-important for the capital club’s supporters.
And while he will seek to maintain normal routines and regular preparation for his players, Blanc has made no attempt to disguise the significance of the fixture.
“Obviously it’s not a match like any other,” he told a pre-match news conference on Saturday.
“For the supporters of both teams, it’s a special game, but it’s worth three points like any other.”
Despite the coaching staff’s best efforts to prevent the hype filtering down from the stands to the dressing room, Blanc also acknowledged that PSG’s stars, regardless of nationality, appreciate what is at stake when they tackle Marseille.
“When a player signs for this club, he learns the history and he learns about the rivalries with other clubs,” he said.
“The players are well aware of it and it creates a special atmosphere around the game. The foreign players know that this is Le Classique, a derby. They know very well that this is a special game.”
As for the match itself, Blanc claimed he has put in plenty of tactical homework as he seeks to avoid overseeing PSG’s first loss to their rivals since November 2011.
“I have thought about this Marseille side, about their coach [Michel], but I’ve focused most of all on my team,” he said.
“We have studied them, we know them well and no doubt they know us too, but at the end of the day, there’s three points on offer and a home match for us to win.
“If we do that, we will make the supporters of Paris Saint-Germain very happy. Obviously Marseille will want to beat Paris like every team. Let’s hope it doesn’t happen on Sunday.”
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