Blanc lambasts PSG after loss

2015-01-12 10:55
Laurent Blanc (File)

Paris — Paris Saint-Germain coach Laurent Blanc lambasted his players for not respecting Bastia, after blowing a 2-0 lead in a 4-2 loss to the Corsican side in the French league on Saturday.

PSG dropped to fourth in the standings, after having the chance to move level at the top with Marseille. Blanc's side looked well set after scoring twice inside 20 minutes. But its defensive frailties were yet again exposed as Bastia roared back to level before halftime.

"We eased up in terms of our concentration and our rigor. The team forgot certain things, let certain things go in the last five minutes of the first half," Blanc said. "Maybe we thought the match was easy. You have to respect these teams. We showed a lack of respect toward this Bastia team after the first 35 minutes and they made us pay."

Star striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic, who is still struggling for fitness since returning from a troublesome heel injury and has scored only once in his past four games, was stunned by the defeat.

"We played well for the first 20 minutes and then something happened which has never happened to me before," the burly forward said. "I mean, winning 2-0 and losing 4-2, I've never experienced that. We need to wake up."

PSG has failed to win any of its past three league games, losing two and drawing one.

It remains three points behind Marseille, and — under the concerned gaze of club president Nasser Al-Khelaifi — this latest sloppy performance increases the pressure on Blanc ahead of Tuesday's League Cup quarterfinal at Saint-Etienne.

"Yes, we were complacent at times," Blanc said. "You get taught a good lesson when you don't do things properly."

To make matters worse, Saint-Etienne's 2-1 win at Reims saw it leapfrog over PSG and into third place. Saint-Etienne moved to two points behind Marseille, level with Lyon, which has a better goal difference and can move to the top of the league if it beats Toulouse at home on Sunday.

Saint-Etienne's goals came either side of halftime from wingers Yohan Mollo and Romain Hamouma.

Before the winter break, Blanc lamented his team's lack of aggression, particularly when defending set-pieces — and two of the goals conceded came from corners and two stemmed from crosses.

"Conceding four goals is inexplicable," Blanc said.

After PSG's bright start, midfielder Ryad Boudebouz converted a penalty for a handball by Gregory van der Wiel, and set up the equalizer on the stroke of halftime when his cross was headed home by veteran defender Francois-Joseph Modesto.

Bastia took the lead soon after the break when defender Julian Palmieri struck the best of his two goals. Rabiot cleared Boudebouz's corner from the left, the ball fell to Palmieri some 20 meters out, and his volley made it 3-2 in the 56th.

"Anything can happen in football — I can even score with my right foot," joked Palmieri, who is left footed.

After PSG center half Thiago Silva struck the crossbar, Palmieri sealed an impressive win when he rifled in Abdoulaye Keita's cross from the right.

In other matches, it was Evian 1, Rennes 1; Guingamp 2, Lens 0; Lille 1, Caen 0; and Nice 3, Lorient 1.

A minute's silence was held before all matches this weekend in memory of the 17 people killed in Paris this week, following three days of bloodshed in a rampage by terrorists linked to al-Qaida in Yemen.

Also on Sunday, Nantes hosts Metz and Monaco faces Bordeaux.

Read more on:    psg  |  laurent blanc  |  soccer


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