Wed, Dec 16, 2015 - Page 18 News List

PSG considering options as Coupe defense commences

AFP, PARIS

Paris Saint-Germain coach Laurent Blanc attends a news conference at the Parc des Princes in Paris on Monday last week on the eve of his side’s UEFA Champions League Group A match against Shakhtar Donetsk.

Photo: Reuters

Paris Saint-Germain will consider their priorities as they begin the defense of their Coupe de la Ligue crown when they host AS Saint-Etienne in the round-of-16 today.

The record five-time winners extended their unbeaten start to the domestic season with a 5-1 rout of Olympique Lyonnais on Sunday that stretched their lead at the top of Ligue 1 to an enormous 17 points.

Last season, PSG won a clean sweep of domestic trophies, which included a 4-0 thrashing of SC Bastia in the Coupe de la Ligue final, but their hunger for UEFA Champions League glory this term could impact their fortunes in the domestic cups.

PSG were paired with Chelsea in the draw for the round-of-16 on Monday, the third straight year the sides have met in the knockout phase, with PSG coach Laurent Blanc saying back in September that the capital club might have to “let go” of one of the domestic competitions to prioritize Europe.

“We will try to manage training sessions, workloads and rotations, but we will maybe need to let go of one of the national cup competitions, or at least not put everything into them. Even if that will be difficult,” Blanc said.

Saint-Etienne handed PSG their last defeat in the Coupe de la Ligue, overcoming the Parisians 5-3 on penalties in the 2012-2013 quarter-finals en route to lifting the title, but their recent form is poor, with Christophe Galtier’s men sliding to an eighth league defeat of the season at the weekend.

The rest of the Ligue 1 clubs competing in Europe this term also enter the field this week, with a pair of former three-time winners, Girondins de Bordeaux and Olympique de Marseille, taking on AS Monaco and second-tier Bourg-en-Bresse Peronnas 01 respectively.

Meanwhile, Lyon president Jean-Michel Aulas confirmed Hubert Fournier would remain as coach at least until the winter break as last year’s Ligue 1 runners-up have struggled mightily of late, picking up just one point from a possible 15.

They host second-tier Tours in the last-ever match at the Stade de Gerland before moving into their new 59,000-capacity stadium next month.

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