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Matuidi defends Ibrahimovic

Paris Saint-Germain’s Blaise Matuidi has leapt to the defence of team-mate Zlatan Ibrahimovic after he was accused of stamping.

Ibrahimovic caught Lyon defender Dejan Lovren in the head and hand with his boot when trying to jump over him in PSG’s 1-0 win on Sunday, which came thanks to Matuidi’s goal.

The incident led to accusations Ibrahimovic’s contact was deliberate but Matuidi denied the reports and said too much attention is unfairly placed on the Swede, who has scored a superb 17 goals in 15 matches this season for PSG.

“He (Zlatan Ibrahimovic) is the player of Ligue 1 this season so, in a way, it’s normal that all eyes would be on him,” Matuidi said.

“He is an exceptional player, always has been. He has been great since he came to us. With him, the slightest incident becomes a big thing.

“Some people tend to forget the player, his performances and the league, what he brings to it. It’s a shame. Like he said, maybe those talking about him are afraid of him and of PSG.”

PSG top Ligue 1 on goal difference after their win over Lyon and another triumph this week, at Brest on Friday, would ensure they lead the league going into the winter break.

And that would be sure to please the club’s Qatari owner Nasser-al-Khelaifi, who attended training on Wednesday.

“The most important thing is to be champion in May,” Matuidi said.

“Being the leader now doesn’t matter, but we want to finish this year well against Brest. We want to be able to enjoy our holiday, we don’t want to be thinking about a bad result.

“We want to get a result there and, yes, we know that if we do so then we will stay on top. It would enable us to come back in January in a good spirits.

“I think we are having a good season. We had a difficult period in November – we’re used to that in Paris now – but we fought back in December and are getting good results at the moment. We hope to wrap it up nicely this weekend and have a good break.”

Wed 19 December, 2012
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