PSG looking to bounce back from Lyon loss in Cup
Paris Saint-Germain will be desperate to get back on track after their shock 2-1 defeat at Lyon, when they face a trip to Saint Etienne for a French Cup quarter-final on Wednesday.
The capital city side suffered a first domestic defeat since March 2015 on Sunday, and know that it will not be easy away to Les Verts, who are well in the hunt for a Champions League place.
PSG coach Laurent Blanc said that his men were “too average” in their loss at Parc OL, but it will be interesting to see if St Etienne try and mirror Lyon’s tactics and play a high press against the cup holders.
The Frenchman called on his team to rediscover the spirit that helped them go 36 league matches unbeaten.
“When I see the last ten minutes of the game, when we tried to come back and stay unbeaten, I can say that we were too average to do anything, even if it is Paris, even if it is my team,” he said.
“The mentality and the aggression that enabled us to stay unbeaten for so long had gone, but it is possible that we can very quickly rediscover that spirit.”
Blanc also has injury problems to worry about with the fixtures coming thick and fast.
Marco Verratti is once again on the sidelines, while Angel Di Maria missed the Lyon loss after limping off against Reims the week before.
With the second leg of the Champions League, last 16 tie against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge to come on March 9, it is unlikely that Blanc will risk either Verratti or Di Maria for the match at the Stade Geoffroy-Guichard.
PSG have won the Coupe de France on nine occasions, second only to arch rivals Marseille who have ten, while the last of St Etienne’s six cup successes came back in 1977.
Marseille will be hoping to extend their record haul this season, as they face a last eight encounter with fifth-tier Granville on Thursday night.
– Heavy criticism -It is a dream tie for the Lower Normandy club, who continue the rich tradition of lower league success in the competition, they are the fifth team from the fifth division to reach the quarter-finals since 1999.
The amateur side’s Stade Louis Dior is not big enough to host such a match, though, and the game will be played at Ligue 1 club Caen’s Stade Michel d’Ornano.
This decision has drawn heavy criticism from Monaco, who play at Caen in the league on Friday.
The principality outfit, who sit second in the top-flight, are worried about the state of the pitch when they play there.
“AS Monaco wish to express their displeasure following the scheduling of the quarter-final of the Coupe de France between Granville and Marseille,” the club said in a statement.
“We cannot understand it, as the pitch at Stade d’Ornano already appeared in poor condition in the last game against Rennes.”
Nantes, whose 0-0 draw with Monaco on Sunday means they have gone 16 outings without defeat, go to second-tier Sochaux on Wednesday.
Sochaux have already claimed the top-flight scalps of Bastia and Monaco in previous rounds.
The other quarter-final is an all-Ligue 1 clash between Lorient and Gazelec Ajaccio, with Gazelec having had a few extra days rest after their weekend league match with Marseille was postponed due to a waterlogged pitch.
French Cup quarter-final fixtures (all times GMT)
Lorient v Gazelec Ajaccio (1800), Sochaux v Nantes (1800), St Etienne v Paris Saint-Germain (2005)
Granville v Marseille (2000)