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Lyon v Rennes

Sunday, 10 August 2014, 16:00

French Ligue 1

Ligue 1 weekend preview

Paris Saint-Germain coach Laurent Blanc will be demanding a huge improvement from his expensively-assembled squad this weekend after turning in a "mediocre" performance against Anderlecht in the Champions League in midweek.

Last Updated: 08/11/13 at 09:27 Post Comment

Laurent Blanc: Wants to stop complacency

Laurent Blanc: Wants to stop complacency

The Ligue 1 leaders return to domestic action at home to Nice on Sunday bidding to defend their two-point advantage over Lille at the summit.

But Blanc knows a better performance is required than was on show on Tuesday, when Anderlecht took the lead inside the final 20 minutes and were only denied a famous win when Zlatan Ibrahimovic fired home.

The result marked the first time PSG have dropped points in the Champions League this season and an unhappy Blanc admitted: "Paris were too mediocre to win the game.

"All around us people are saying we will win easily, so maybe subconsciously they think that all they need to do to win the game is step on to the pitch."

Nice head into the daunting away clash at the unbeaten leaders on the back of successive defeats that have seen them sink to 11th in the standings, but midfielder Mahamane Traore has vowed they will not sit back come Saturday.

"It will be difficult, we know," he told the Nice website. "Paris has good players, very effective, and has never lost this season.

"Like everywhere else, we will go there to win and certainly will not defend with 11 and hope for a draw."

Lille have emerged as unlikely challengers to PSG and climbed to second place in the standings last weekend after an impressive 2-0 win over previously unbeaten Monaco.

One of their star performers, midfielder Rio Mavuba, has been rewarded for his fine displays with a recall to the France squad ahead of the World Cup play-off with Ukraine later this month.

Lille will hope to keep the pressure on at the summit with victory over Guingamp on Saturday, and Mavuba believes his recall to the national side is thanks in part to his side's lofty status.

"I want to congratulate the whole team for this season," he said on losc.fr. "I'm just happy and proud at the same time. It was a real goal for me to return to Les Bleus."

Marseille are in action at home to Sochaux on Sunday night and will be hoping for a morale-boosting result after crashing out of the Champions League with a 3-2 loss at Napoli on Wednesday.

The defeat was a fourth in as many Champions League matches, and only served to add to the misery at the Stade Velodrome after a run of three defeats and a draw in their past four Ligue 1 matches.

A draw at Rennes last time out marked a slight upturn in OM's league fortunes, and midfielder Benoit Cheyrou admits his side's luck needs to change if they are to earn a first win in all competitions since September 28.

"It's really disappointing and if you need to score three or four goals to win a match then things become difficult," he said after the 3-2 loss to Napoli.

"We've lost four from four in the Champions League. We think we're at the same level as our opponents but we're losing the games.

"We're on a very bad run despite the good draw at Rennes and now we have to think about the home game against Sochaux."

Elsewhere on Sunday, Bordeaux entertain Nantes and St Etienne welcome fierce rivals Lyon. The away supporters have been banned from attending the match due to simmering tensions between them.

On Saturday, Bastia are at home to Rennes, Lorient host Reims, Ajaccio - with Christian Bracconi in interim charge following the sacking of Fabrizio Ravanelli - visit Toulouse and Valenciennes welcome Montpellier.

The weekend action kicks off on Friday night as Monaco bid to bounce back from their first loss of the season last time out a home encounter with Evian.

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Readers' Comments

C

lassic management. Build them up and then knock them back. Raise expectations and then dampen them. Create a dynamic where by you demand the most from your team, but where the team are given room to manoeuvre unexpected or unwanted results. Classy work by Van Gaal, he really reminds me a lot of me. A smart cookie, make no doubt.

hump3.
Van Gaal: 'I struggle for first three months'

H

e will be the England left back for ten years or more, and then you will have to thank MUFC for that. *smiles*

london saint
Shaw: Criticism spot on

P

urely because of that little diva moment he had last night, I don't want him coming to my club. DESTROYED ? Grow up and give something back to the club that helped put you up there on the world stage.

bale doubt
Saints' Schneiderlin stalemate

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