Saturday, May 27, 2017

Saint-Etienne v Paris Saint-Germain: Champions out to recover from rare setback

SoccerNews in Ligue 1 29 Feb 2016

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Paris Saint-Germain will seek to seek to bounce back from their surprise defeat to Lyon against Saint-Etienne in the Coupe de France quarter-finals on Wednesday.

The French champions warmed up for their midweek trip to the Stade Geoffroy-Guichard with a shock 2-1 loss at Stade Gerland that ended their 36-match unbeaten run in Ligue 1. 

Maxwel Cornet and Sergi Darder did the damage for Lyon, although Laurent Blanc’s side remain 23 points clear at the top as they prepare to keep their quadruple hopes on track.

“Were we too relaxed? I don’t know,” Blanc said afterwards. “We need to use this result to bounce back against Saint-Etienne on Wednesday.”

With Ligue 1 success all but assured and a Coupe de la Ligue final place booked, PSG can take a big step towards retaining the Coupe de France when they face Christophe Galtier’s out-of-form hosts.

PSG visit Chelsea in the second leg of their Champions League last-16 tie next week, with a 2-1 lead in the bag, but David Luiz maintains his team-mates are not getting ahead of themselves.

“It’s our first defeat. That’s the way it goes, that’s football,” the Brazilian explained on Sunday.

“Were we thinking about Chelsea? No. We were thinking about Lyon, but we didn’t play well. We scored one goal in the second half, but we were tired. We made mistakes. 

“Paris play every game to win, but sometimes it’s not possible.”

Galtier’s men will look on the Coupe de France as their final chance to win a trophy, having bowed out of the Europa League against Basel last week.

A 2-1 home defeat to Caen added to a difficult few days for Galtier, who acknowledged his side are struggling for energy after a heavy run of fixtures.

“The quality of our opponents and the accumulation of matches meant that you could see it was going to be difficult after only a couple of minutes,” he said after Saturday’s defeat.

“Our players had nothing in their legs. We struggled to produce anything of note. We made a lot of simple errors and had problems defending.”

Blanc could have Angel di Maria and Marco Verratti back available after they missed Sunday’s loss with muscle and inflammation issues respectively. Galtier is set to again be without captain Loic Perrin due to hip troubles.

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