Blanc looks to Norman conquest to ease PSG tensions

AFP, Tuesday 23 Sep 2014

Tensions are high as Paris Saint-Germain head to Normandy on Wednesday desperate for a win to keep in touch with the French league leaders after a fourth draw in six Ligue 1 games at the weekend

Zlatan Ibrahimovic
Paris St Germain's Zlatan Ibrahimovic reacts during his team's Champions League soccer match against Dynamo Kiev at the Parc des Princes stadium in Paris, September 18, 2012. (Photo: Reuters)

Tensions are high as Paris Saint-Germain head to Normandy on Wednesday desperate for a win to keep in touch with the French league leaders after a fourth draw in six Ligue 1 games at the weekend.

The two-time defending champions are three points behind Marseille, and need maximum points in Caen to stay close to Marcelo Bielsa's table toppers who could pull further ahead at Champagne outfit Reims on Tuesday.

Laurent Blanc's side were held to their third 1-1 draw at home against Lyon at the weekend as Marseille turned on the style in a 3-0 home win over Rennes.



Bordeaux and Saint-Etienne, equal on 13 points with Marseille but behind on goal difference respectively, go head-to-head on Thursday in the southeast.

The situation may not be critical for the Parisians who are in fifth position and are unbeaten in eight matches in all competitions.

But a win at midtable Caen ahead of another Ligue 1 trip to Toulouse on Saturday, would be a timely boost before a visit from Spanish giants Barcelona to Parc des Princes for Champions League action next week.

Blanc had put the drop in form down to the staggered return of players from holidays after World Cup duty, but also admitted there was a certain "tension" within the team.

Even Swedish star Zlatan Ibrahimovic, scorer of half of the Parisians goals this season, has become human since his hattrick in a 5-0 win over Saint-Etienne on August 31.

"When a club fails to get good results, there is a sense of unease," said Blanc. "The players are very disappointed, the staff are very disappointed. We are not at our best form. It leads to tensions in the team.

"We know the rules of the game. When you're in a club like PSG, you need results," said Blanc, who lamented the lack of maturity of a team that led three times only to be caught.

"We're realistic we're not on our top game. Caen will be quite difficult, we're taking nothing for granted and need a win."

Ibrahimovic's drop in form mirrors that of his entire team, with Edinson and Cavani Zoumana getting the team out of a potentially tricky situations with their two goals in the past two games.

The absence of Blanc's former PSG deputy coach Claude Makelele, who is now coaching Bastia, could be a reason for lack of morale in the dressing room, along with captain Thiago Silva's absence through injury.

In midfield Yohan Cabaye could benefit from the suspension of Italian international midfielder Marco Verratti, but Blanc could opt for Javier Pastore against Caen, who have seven points from their six games.

Silva is still recovering from his hamstring injury with defence likely to be assured by the Marquinhos and David Luiz partnership.

Lille, who are alone in fourth on 12 points, travel to Nice with Montpellier, joint fifth, hosting last season's runners-up Monaco, who are looking for a second consecutive win to move further away from the drop zone.

Nantes travel to Bastia, and Lorient to Lyon, while at the bottom of the table Evian are looking for their first win of the season at home against Lens, who are themselves just a point clear of the drop zone, with Guingamp hosting Metz.


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