Laurent Blanc is hopeful Paris Saint-Germain can make the most of the greater possession they will likely be afforded by Nice in Ligue 1.
Blanc saw the French champions swept aside 3-1 by Barcelona at the Parc des Princes in the first leg of their UEFA Champions League quarter-final on Wednesday, with Luis Suarez’s brace highlighting the difference in quality.
Having seen their hopes of reaching the final four of Europe’s premier club competition severely dented, PSG return to domestic action with a chance of reclaiming top spot from Lyon, albeit potentially temporarily with their rivals in action the following day.
Marco Verratti could return from his European suspension, but Zlatan Ibrahimovic starts a domestic ban for his rant at referee Lionel Jaffredo in the 3-2 defeat to Bordeaux last month.
Thiago Silva (thigh) is highly doubtful to feature after limping off early in the loss to Barca.
However, Blanc’s side can expect to have more of the ball this weekend at the Allianz Riviera.
“It [Wednesday’s match] was dominated by Barca in many areas but the main one is their possession of the ball,” Blanc told reporters.
“This is not a fixation for me but when one team is always running backwards the other has a much greater chance of winning.
“Still, my players gave their all, hence why there was a great disappointment in the dressing room at the end.”
Claude Puel’s Nice have all but ensured their Ligue 1 status for next season and sit comfortably in 10th despite not winning at home since January.
After Sunday’s narrow 1-0 win at Reims, Nice return to a Riviera stadium with a closed south stand.
French authorities opted to shut that section of the ground following crowd disturbances during a 2-2 draw with Evian earlier this month.
The fight against the decision has provided the main talking point for the south-coast club in recent days, along with Carlos Eduardo’s likely return from suspension.
Formerly of Porto, the midfielder was in fine form prior to his ban and could prove key in exploiting a PSG side returning to domestic football following their Coupe de la Ligue triumph last weekend.
Eduardo told the club’s official website: “It’s always hard not to play, especially as I was going through a good period.
“I feel at ease against all teams but it is true that those teams at the other top have other concerns. That leaves more space and therefore there are more opportunities to express ourselves.”
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