Paris St Germain’s brilliant start to the season will mean nothing if the French side fails to go a step further in the Champions League, coach Laurent Blanc has said.
PSG thrashed Malmo 5-0 away on Wednesday to advance into the last 16 of Europe’s premium club competition and they are sitting on a 13-point cushion at the top of the Ligue 1 standings after just 14 rounds.
It is not the first time, however, that the capital side impressed early on and Blanc knows too well that PSG will be judged when the European spring dawns.
They reached the quarterfinals of the Champions League in the last three seasons with some impressive performances, only to be knocked out at that stage every time.
“We have to question ourselves permanently,” said Blanc. “In Paris, as soon as you draw, it’s seen as a catastrophe, and if you lose, it’s a tsunami.”
PSG have lost only one game this season, a 1-0 defeat at Real Madrid after a goalless draw at home against the 10-times Champions League winners who will finish top of Group A.
Their focus will now be to get ready for the knockout phase and Blanc will likely be able to rest some key players in low-key league or Cup matches.
“We all know that even if you’re good in October or November, all is decided in February, March, April,” he explained.
“If we don’t succeed in these three months, you (the media) forget everything and say the season has been very bad. I know that we’re awaited in Spring. I hope we’ll be in good shape at that time.”
Their hopes would rest on the shoulders of Angel Di Maria, who was brought in from Manchester United during the close season to reinforce PSG’s European credentials.
“He accelerates our game, he’s very technical and he’s also very accurate in front of goal,” said Blanc after Di Maria’s double on Wednesday.
“I think in the future he’ll score a lot of goals.”
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