22 September 2014 18:30
Paris Saint-Germain visit Caen with speculation over the future of coach Laurent Blanc beginning to surface following a poor run of form.
Blanc’s men were held to a 1-1 draw by Lyon at the Parc des Princes on Sunday, producing another sub-par performance in a game that saw Samuel Umtiti hit home an 84th-minute equaliser for the visitors after Edinson Cavani had given PSG the lead.
That result came on the back of a 1-1 stalemates with Rennes and Ajax, both of whom claimed a share of the spoils in the second half after PSG had taken the lead in the first.
PSG are still only three points off early leaders Marseille despite having just two Ligue 1 wins to their name, but the draw with Lyon was enough to force club president Nasser Al-Khelaifi to deny suggestions that Blanc’s position is under threat.
Yet, while the defending champions are refusing to panic over their disappointing start to the new campaign, Blanc conceded that the team is in need of a morale boost.
“We’re not playing as well as a team, we’re not as sharp and we can’t seem to put things into place,” Blanc said.
“We know this scenario only too well. We score the goal that should liberate us and, instead, I get the impression that we tense up.
“When a club’s not getting results there’s always the feeling of a malaise. The atmosphere was a bit more relaxed last year with the results we had.
“The players are all disappointed and we’re realistic enough to know we’re not at our best.”
Blanc will hope that a trip to Normandy will provide the perfect tonic to PSG’s problems, but top-flight new boys Caen will be no pushovers, as they demonstrated in Saturday’s enthralling 3-3 draw at Toulouse.
Patrice Garande’s men looked to have sealed the points from a frenetic encounter when Jean Calve scored in the 86th minute, only for Pavle Ninkov to level a minute later for the hosts.
In spite of the late setback that result ensured that Caen avoided a third straight defeat and marked the first time this season that they have conceded more than one goal.
And, with everyone but Cavani seemingly misfiring for the visitors, the home crowd at the Stade Michel d’Ornano can look ahead to Wednesday’s match with hope that their team can repeat the feat of 2008, when Caen thumped the capital club 3-0.
The hosts are likely to be without defenders Felipe Saad (groin) and Emmanuel Imorou (thigh) but up front Caen should be confident of a troubling a PSG defence that is still missing centre-back and captain Thiago Silva due to a hamstring complaint.
Midfielder Adrien Rabiot (foot) is also not expected to feature for the visitors, for whom Marco Verratti is suspended.