Thursday, April 25, 2024

Luis Enrique believes PSG would benefit from a little more domestic pressure

SoccerNews in Ligue 1 24 Feb 2024

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Paris St Germain coach Luis Enrique has warned his side’s commanding advantage at the top of Ligue 1 could begin to work against them in the second half of the season.

PSG began the weekend 13 points clear of second-placed Brest before the latter’s trip to Strasbourg on Saturday evening, well on course to secure a third consecutive league title.

But Enrique is wary of the size of the lead his side hold going into their match at home to Rennes on Sunday, admitting a little more pressure from their domestic opponents might keep them sharper as they look to go deep in this season’s Champions League.

“We’re very happy with the distance between us and second place,” Enrique said. “It’s something we have to fight against for a lot of weeks. It’s perhaps a handicap that we need to control. Our aim is to win matches and win all the competitions we take part in.

“Obviously, if we had an opponent closer to us in the league table, we might be a little more prepared and the players would prepare themselves more spontaneously. In any case, you have to be a little more motivated. We can do it very well.

“We’re the most consistent team in the league. But now we’ve got the last third of the season coming up and we need to perform well in all competitions. There are a lot of good tests coming up. It’s going to be very difficult on Sunday and this match will help us prepare for the matches that follow.”

PSG have won their last five matches in all competitions and are on an 18-match unbeaten run that dates back to the 2-1 defeat to AC Milan in November.

“It’s always positive to have a good run of results,” Enrique added. “But the coach always has to make sure it doesn’t get complicated. It’s good to have good momentum, but you mustn’t let up.

“That’s what I fight for every week, in training and when preparing for matches. Good results also mean that you have to stay focused, both in matches and in training.”

Rennes, seventh in Ligue 1, are enjoying some superb form themselves. Julien Stephan’s side have won 10 of their last 11 games, with the exception being a Europa League defeat, also against Milan.

Rennes lost the first leg of their tie against the Italians 3-0, meaning that Thursday’s 3-2 victory was not enough to keep them in the competition.

Speaking after that match, Stephan said: “Disappointment or satisfaction? Pride wins out…It’s a great source of pride to have won against Milan. Even if it’s difficult to compare eras, it’s probably the most prestigious victory in the European history of Rennes, so we have to appreciate that.”

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