PSG seek boost ahead of City return
Paris Saint-Germain will use Saturday’s Ligue 1 trip to Guingamp to iron out the mistakes that plagued them in their 2-2 draw against Manchester City in the first leg of the Champions League quarter-final.
Laurent Blanc’s side have their hands full going into next week’s return leg in England having drawn Wednesday’s encounter 2-2 at the Parc des Princes.
“We made too many mistakes and Manchester City punished us. You can’t afford to make mistakes like this against a team of this quality,” Zlatan Ibrahimovic told PSG TV.
“In the return leg, we have to play simple football and fix what didn’t work (Wednesday). I’m confident, because I believe in myself and my team.”
Ibrahimovic missed a first-half penalty against City, but the Swede made amends just before the break with his 39th goal of the season and needs just two more to match his haul from the 2013-14 campaign.
Paris were beaten 1-0 on their last trip to Guingamp however and are winless in three visits to the Stade du Roudourou.
Meanwhile in the race for second Lyon can crank up the pressure on faltering Monaco when they visit Montpellier on Friday where a win would send resurgent Lyon level on points.
Lyon have won seven of their last nine games to charge back into contention for France’s second automatic Champions League qualifying spot, and they could also welcome back Nabil Fekir for the trip to the Stade de la Mosson.
The France international missed seven months with a serious knee injury but returned to action with Lyon’s reserve team last weekend as he bids for a place in Didier Deschamps’ squad for Euro 2016.
“To have Nabil back for the final push is good for us but you can’t be too demanding right away. He’s going to need to rediscover his rhythm as he gets back to 100 per cent,” said Lyon goalkeeper Anthony Lopes.
– Monaco under pressure -Monaco inflicted a first home defeat on PSG since May 2014 prior to the international break, but Leonardo Jardim’s side then crashed to a 2-1 reverse against Bordeaux last Friday and have won just once in five outings.
On Sunday, they will try to hold onto second when they visit Lille, who have undergone a remarkable turnaround under Frederic Antonetti and are gunning for a fifth win in a row.
Last weekend’s defeat in Paris damaged Nice’s Champions League pursuit, and Claude Puel’s men next face a Rennes side who are in direct competition with them for a top-three finish.
Ousmane Dembele struck twice in a 3-1 victory over Reims last weekend as Rennes made it four wins in five to stay within a point of Lyon, while climbing above Nice into fourth.
Saint-Etienne remain in the European picture as well and will fancy their chances of turning over Troyes, whose relegation was finally confirmed last weekend after a sixth successive defeat.
Beleaguered Marseille coach Michel remains in charge at the Stade Velodrome despite presiding over an eight-match winless run that has left the traditional French giants just six points above the drop zone.
Marseille are without a win at home since September, an agonising sequence of 13 matches, with Bordeaux hoping to extend their miserable run this weekend.
“The current situation is delicate and represents a big challenge for all of us,” Marseille owner Margarita Louis-Dreyfus said in a statement.
“Regarding the short term, I’m reassured by the professionalism and the desire of Michel to successfully complete the end of the season, with all his strength and energy,” she added.
Two wins in three have given Toulouse hope of escaping relegation and Pascal Dupraz’s team will target a third straight home victory against Bastia on Saturday.
Fixtures (kick-off times GMT)
Montpellier v Lyon (1830)
Guingamp v Paris Saint-Germain (1500), Caen v Lorient, Saint-Etienne v Troyes, Angers v Gazelec Ajaccio, Toulouse v Bastia, Reims v Nantes (all 1800)
Lille v Monaco (1200), Nice v Rennes (1500), Marseille v Bordeaux (1900)