Chelsea the focus for PSG ahead of Montpellier match
Paris St Germain returned to winning ways against St Etienne in the French Cup in midweek, but will make changes for Saturday’s league game against Montpellier with an eye on next Wednesday’sChampions League match at Chelsea.
PSG’s 36-game undefeated streak in the league ended with a 2-1 loss at Lyon on Sunday, halting a club-record run that stretched back to March 2015.
They responded with a 3-1 French Cup victory over St Etienne on Wednesday to set up a semi-final at Lorient, keeping hopes alive of a second consecutive domestic quadruple.
“We can’t erase what happened on Sunday, but we can use it,” coach Laurent Blanc told L’Equipe. “The best answers are those that are given on the field and we responded well.
“We needed to do it quickly, and it was good to play only three days after the defeat. We rediscovered certain values that hadn’t disappeared but which weren’t there on Sunday.”
“It was important to win before Chelsea for confidence,” added Javier Pastore, “but we still have a match on Saturday to be even more at ease in the league.”
Leaders PSG remain 23 points clear, and Blanc will look to rotate his squad against Montpellier, with progression past Chelsea, whom PSG beat 2-1 in the first leg of their round of 16 tie, clearly the priority.
Midfield lynchpin Blaise Matuidi will undergo tests on Thursday after being replaced in midweek with a hamstring injury.
“He was taken off as a precaution,” Blanc said. “When a player goes off I’m always worried.”
“I hope that Blaise can play because he’s an important player,” added captain Thiago Silva. “Montpellier will be a difficult match because we will be thinking about the important game against Chelsea.”
Marco Verratti missed the St Etienne match as he recovers from a groin strain, while Angel Di Maria (thigh injury) and Gregory van der Wiel (illness) were also absent.
Serge Aurier has been banished to the reserves until March 21 after footage emerged of him criticising his teammates and Blanc.
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