3 October 2014 16:34
Paris Saint-Germain aim to build on their president’s “best night in football” by ending a nine-game winless run against Monaco in Ligue 1.
Goals from David Luiz, Marco Verratti and Blaise Matuidi secured the Zlatan Ibrahimovic-less Parisians a 3-2 upset over Barcelona in the UEFA Champions League on Tuesday, much to the delight of Nasser Al Khelaifi.
Now Laurent Blanc has urged his side to use it as fuel to kickstart their domestic campaign on Sunday evening.
PSG have drawn four of their last six Ligue 1 matches and sit fourth, five points behind leaders Marseille.
“We hope the Barcelona result launches our season,” said Blanc. “It can serve as a reference point for us to build from.”
Marquinhos sustained a thigh injury against the Catalans and is set to join fellow defender Thiago Silva on the sidelines for the visit of Monaco.
That means big-money signing David Luiz, who silenced his critics with an admirable display against Lionel Messi and Neymar is highly unlikely to be given time off to rest a lingering knee problem. The Brazilian is, however, happy to play through the pain.
“When you play at a high level for years, it’s normal to play with pain,” the 27-year-old told a news conference. “It’s part of daily life for a lot of players.
“I’m doing everything I can to shrug off the pain in my knee. I’ve got the best job in the world and I want to play every match that God gives me.”
Blanc is likely to partner Luiz with Zoumana Camara, who played in PSG’s last league victory over Monaco in 2007, but the former France coach will be without Ezequiel Lavezzi (hamstring) and it remains unclear whether Ibrahimovic will return from his heel issue at the Parc des Princes.
Monaco 2014-15 story is similar to PSG’s thus far.
In the Champions League, Leonardo Jardim’s side followed up victory over Bayer Leverkusen with an impressive draw at Zenit on Wednesday, leaving them on course to progress from an examining group.
However, last season’s runners-up are in 12th in Ligue 1 and have failed to score more than one goal in each of 10 matches in all competitions this term.
“For every coach, the Champions League is easy to handle,” said Jardim. “My players are totally motivated and at 100 per cent. I would like to see the same attitude in Ligue 1.”
Jardim revealed at a news conference that Dimitar Berbatov (ankle) is likely to miss out through injury, while Jeremy Toulalan is suspended.
The 40-year-old is nevertheless confident his side can take something from the game.
“Paris Saint-Germain are a very good team, even stronger than last season,” said Jardim. “But if we are well organised on Sunday we can get a good result.”