Thursday, May 24, 2018

Nantes v Paris Saint-Germain: Blanc expects more from key men

SoccerNews in Ligue 1 24 Sep 2015


Paris Saint-Germain coach Laurent Blanc is confident that key men Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Javier Pastore will come good as the champions prepare to face Nantes in Ligue 1.

Both scored their first goals of the season in midweek as PSG bounced back from the disappointment of last weekend’s draw at Reims by beating Guingamp 3-0.

And Blanc feels there is plenty more to come from the duo.

“Ibrahimovic is still lacking a little something,” he said. “But once he gets that, he will start scoring goals. 

“We also need to manage him properly and get him to be at his best level in the big matches. 

“Pastore was also slow against Reims but much better against Guingamp. He needs a run of games to express his best qualities. 

“We saw the Pastore of last season. That gives me one extra player to consider for the team.”

While PSG remain top of the table and boast an unbeaten record this term, Nantes are hovering precariously close to the relegation zone.

Michel Der Zakarian’s men have scored only two goals all season, one of those being an own goal, and they have won just one of their last 15 meetings with the men from the capital.

Der Zakarian described his side’s performance in their 2-0 defeat at Saint-Etienne as “non-existent”, before going on to claim that he is not worried by their poor start to the campaign.

“We’ll have to stop this bad run, even though we have difficult games coming up,” he said. “The only remedy is in the mind. 

“We need solidarity and teamwork. I’m not worried, although I am not happy. 

“Otherwise, we should stop everything. Top-level football is just that; being able to show mental qualities in the face of superior opposition.”

Nantes are again likely to be without injured duo Youssouf Sabaly and Wilfried Moimbe, while with a gruelling Champions League trip to Shakhtar Donetsk looming next midweek, Blanc may well opt to rotate his squad as he did against Guingamp last time out.

Ibrahimovic appeared to come through the midweek victory unscathed having been hampered by a knee injury for the past few weeks and Blanc will be hoping that the former Milan forward can rekindle his partnership with Edinson Cavani, who has already scored seven goals in all competitions this season.

Ivorian defender Serge Aurier, meanwhile, will again miss out for the visitors through suspension.


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