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French club Paris St Germain reached the quarter-finals of the Champions League for the second consecutive season after a comfortable 6-1 aggregate victory over Bayern Leverkusen in the last 16-year-old. A 2-1 defeat in the second leg was preceded by a 4-0 defeat in the first leg. Zlatan Ibrahimovic was the star of both legs after the Swedish striker was involved in several goals. PSG were knocked out of the competition by Barcelona last season, but they will be hoping for a kinder to this time around. They are the only representatives of French football at this level.
After spending extravagant sums of money on improving the squad over the last few years, PSG will not be expecting to go out at the quarter-final stage once again. Manager Laurent Blanc, who is set to be confirmed as the club’s manager for another season, praised his players for the attitude they showed in the second leg. It was easy for PSG to get complacent given the comfortable lead they had in the match, but it was not the case, as it was a professional job by the French outfit. Players like Thiago Motta were unavailable for this encounter since Blanc chose to rest them for the league matches.
Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho recently made PSG as one of the favourites for the title.
“Maybe our difficult start is due to the lack of experience. We saw that Champions League level is different from French league level. I’m not saying the mindset was not good, I’m just saying that it’s the Champions League and it’s a bit harder. But I congratulate them, I’m happy. The competition continues. We’re entering money time. It’s getting serious. We’re having a good season, it can become a very, very good season,” said Blanc after the match.03.19.14
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Despite being overwhelming favourites to win the French league title, Paris St Germain manager Laurent Blanc says that the season is heading into an exciting finale. Apart from doing well in the domestic league, PSG have also done extremely well in the Champions league this campaign. Buoyed by the riches of the Qatari owners, they have managed to dominate the Champions league with some impressive football. The club has almost managed to seal a place in the quarter-finals of the competition after a 4-0 win over Bayern Leverkusen in the first leg of last 16.
Zlatan Ibrahimovic, on whom the club is spending close to £ 50 million every season on every aspect like wages and bonuses, scored two goals in this match. Looking at the history, PSG have certainly raised the quarter-finals since no team has managed to overcome a 4-0 deficit from the first leg. Blanc has said that they are undoubtedly favourites amongst the media to finish top of the French league, but he says that the Champions league presents a much more open problem.
PSG are one of the favourites to win the competition, which would be a milestone for French football, given the amount of money they have spent in recent years, but Blanc says that the presence of big clubs like Real Madrid and Bayern Munich poses a lot of problems.
“Nothing will stop you from thinking we are one of the favourites. We know what we have done and we know what we need to do to go further. We reproduced the kind of soccer we were playing in the first half of the season. Obviously I am very happy with the performance. We were excellent. We witnessed, in my opinion. A great team. We can count on everyone,” said Blanc after the Champions league win over Leverkusen.02.19.14
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Monaco recently lost their grip in the French Ligue One after Paris St Germain managed to take a three-point lead following Monaco’s loss to Valenciennes in the final match of 2013. The 2-1 defeat meant that Paris St Germain were able to open a lead in the title race. However, Claudio Ranieri’s men managed to get back to winning ways after a now 3-2 win over Vannes in the Coupe de France match. After this encounter, Ranieri said that this was a positive result for the club and they can now hope to return to winning ways in the league as well.
The club will take on Montpellier on Friday. The defeat to Valenciennes was the first that the club suffered since the month of November. Since the French league has become extremely competitive at the top following the riches poured into PSG and Monaco, it has become an extremely tight race for the title. Any slipups will mean that it will be difficult to catch up with the table leaders, but Monaco still retain hope that they will be able to do so with more than half of the season remaining. However, they have to do without Radamel Falcao for the rest of the season.
The summer signing has been linked with a move to Chelsea.
“I think the cup game against Vannes was good for us because it allowed the team to wake up everything. I thought it would be a tough game, because it’s normal when you go away to play against a smaller team, they will play better. They will go in with the intention of causing a shock and will play with heart. For us it was important to qualify and also to wake up everyone, because it’s not easy after the holidays to start the season once more immediately,” said Ranieri.12.24.13
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