Laurent Blanc believes Paris Saint-Germain have “a duty” to play Lorient on Saturday as the nation continues to come to terms with the terror attacks that devastated Paris last week.
The Ligue 1 champions visit the Stade du Moustoir for their first match since the atrocities in the French capital last Friday that killed 129 people.
There were concerns that some of the squad would be hesitant to return to PSG duties following the international break, but head coach Blanc says not a single player has informed him they do not wish to play, despite admitting they face a “psychological problem”.
“It’s not an easy situation,” he said on Friday. “It’s not just the PSG players who are affected, it’s all the players. Foreigners may have been most affected because they were far away from Paris and they saw horrific images of the city on television.
“We have a job to do, like all coaches. We keep saying that life goes on, but it’s easier said than done. I think playing is the best solution. This will be tough for everyone. This is an important psychological problem to solve and it’s not simple.
“Despite all this, despite the images, the shock of being touched by the events… it’s easier said than done, but I repeat that life must continue. It is our duty to play football.
“There is not a player who came to see me to tell me they don’t want to play. We have eight matches to prepare for and we have to do our work.”
Both David Luiz and Marco Verratti will be rested for the game due to injury concerns, while Javier Pastore – who lost two friends in the attack on the Bataclan theatre – will not feature as he recovers from a thigh problem.
“David Luiz is unavailable for the match. We’re going to need him in the future so it’s a personal decision in relation to the synthetic field and his knee problems,” said Blanc.
“Javier Pastore will be out, he returned to Argentina on Wednesday. He has a recovery programme. The rest of the group is available, except Marco Verratti, who is under treatment.”
Blanc believes Lorient’s artificial pitch could pose some problems as the leaders take on a side who have lost just three times in Ligue 1 so far this season.
“We have to keep our confidence going. The players were back on Thursday with an advanced state of fatigue. It’s not easy to prepare for these matches,” he added.
“Our goal is the same, whether we’re at home or away. There is an important element to consider: the synthetic pitch that is not ideal for players of an advanced age. I was told that this was the final year. On their own soil, Lorient are a difficult team to beat.”
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