PSG look to forget domestic woes

Paris Saint-Germain’s inconsistency in the French league has yet to impact its Champions League campaign as the big spenders hold a 2-1 lead ahead of Wednesday’s return leg in the last 16 against Valencia.
David Beckham (rigt) has been included in PSG squad for the game against Valencia. Net photo.
David Beckham (rigt) has been included in PSG squad for the game against Valencia. Net photo.

Paris Saint-Germain’s inconsistency in the French league has yet to impact its Champions League campaign as the big spenders hold a 2-1 lead ahead of Wednesday’s return leg in the last 16 against Valencia.

PSG has not reached the Champions League quarterfinals since 1995 and will be favored to progress, despite coping without top scorer Zlatan Ibrahimovic, who is suspended.

Ibrahimovic, who has scored 26 goals, has been masking PSG’s weaknesses. When he’s out of form, like in Saturday’s 1-0 loss at Reims, the team seems short on options.

PSG’s win in Valencia three weeks ago contrasted sharply with Saturday’s poor display, which was PSG’s second straight away loss to a team fighting against relegation - a worrying statistic for a club aspiring to join Europe’s elite.

PSG coach Carlo Ancelotti refused to criticize his players for their poor showing against Reims and said the loss does not change his plans for Valencia.

“I don’t think so,” the Italian said. “Wednesday’s match is important, that’s true, but we’ve already prepared for it.”

Ancelotti has Brazil center half Thiago Silva available again after nearly two months out with a hamstring injury, but winger Jeremy Menez is doubtful with a sore hip and sat out Monday’s training.

Following Saturday’s loss, sporting director Leonardo made the bizarre claim that “maybe we have a team made for Europe, not for this kind of match.”

PSG has not won the league since 1994, and aside from winning the now defunct European Cup Winners’ Cup in 1996, it has not won anything in Europe - although it did reach the Champions League semifinals in 1995.

Valencia’s cause, meanwhile, may be helped by Ibrahimovic’s absence -especially considering its problems in defense.

Jeremy Mathieu may have to fill in at center half alongside Victor Ruiz in a makeshift partnership because Adil Rami is injured and Ricardo Costa is struggling for fitness. Aly Cissokho is expected to start at left back.

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