Thursday, April 26, 2018

Paris Saint-Germain v Caen: Blanc eyes strong domestic finish

SoccerNews in Ligue 1 14 Apr 2016


Laurent Blanc wants Paris Saint-Germain to refocus on their domestic ambitions as they prepare to host Caen on Saturday after their Champions League defeat to Manchester City.

The French champions lost 1-0 at the Etihad Stadium on Tuesday, resulting in a 3-2 aggregate defeat that put them out at the quarter-final stage for a fourth consecutive season.

Blanc accepted that the European exit was a massive blow to PSG’s ambitions, but does not want his players to think the season is lost with the Ligue 1 title already secured and the chance for them to add the Coupe de France and Coupe de la Ligue crowns to seal back-to-back domestic trebles.

PSG have a Coupe de France semi-final tie against Lorient next Tuesday and then meet Lille in the Coupe de La Ligue final on April 23, but first welcome Caen to Parc des Princes in one of their five remaining league fixtures.

“I am responsible for the defeat – it is not a problem for me to say that,” Blanc said of the City loss.

“I am as disappointed as my players. Before the game we really thought that we could get through. Even if we made a few mistakes in the first leg, we did not think we were unable to get through. We hoped that we could score because we scored in the first leg.

“What next? We have a championship to finish, a Coupe de France and Coupe de la Ligue to win. It does not have the same excitement but we must win for the club.”

PSG have 83 points – meaning they are already level with the tally they recorded in the full 38 games last season – while Caen have dropped down to ninth after a run of three losses in four games.

Caen have not beaten PSG in their last nine Ligue 1 meetings, but did earn a dramatic draw 2-2 in the fixture last season.

“No matter the players that line up for them, PSG have such strength with a winning culture,” midfielder Nicolas Seube told the club’s website.

“They will present a highly competitive team. Their players are so exceptional that the fans forget that their replacements would hold their own at all other clubs in Ligue 1. 

“I saw a little of their match against Guingamp and even with young players, PSG did not change their style, had the ball for 75 per cent of the time and won.

“Since we secured safety there has been some relaxation – it is subconscious, but it exists. Clearly, we are not so good at the moment, but we want to finish in the top 10. We have the potential. 

“It would be a real reward for the group, for the club, for all the people who worked here for a long time.”

Thiago Motta is out with a thigh injury and Marco Verratti (groin) has been out since February, but David Luiz and Blaise Matuidi are back from suspension.


Key Opta stats: 

– PSG have lost only one of their last 36 home Ligue 1 games (W28 D7).
– Caen have won only one of their 13 away Ligue 1 games against teams who were the current title holders (D2 L10).
– Caen have not kept a clean sheet in 28 of their last 30 away Ligue 1 games.
– Caen have conceded at least one goal in each of their last 11 away league games, only Troyes are currently on a longer run (18).
– Javier Pastore has been involved in a goal in each of his three Ligue 1 games against Caen (2 goals, 1 assist). Lucas Moura has also been involved in a goal in each of his three games against Caen in Ligue 1 (1 goal, 2 assists).


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