PSG seeking boost in Toulouse before Barcelona clash
26 September 2014, 08:16
Paris - What a difference a win makes. Paris Saint Germain's 2-0 win away at Caen in midweek not only broke a sequence of three draws but lifted them to second in the table and temporarily silenced the critics.
With a tantalising Champions League tie against Barcelona coming up at the Parc des Princes on Tuesday, the French champions are on their travels again on Saturday, at Toulouse.
And victory could put them level on points with early season leaders Marseille, although that could all change on Sunday when the leaders are in action at home to high-flying Saint Etienne.
Earlier in the week, PSG coach Laurent Blanc admitted his side had been having "a bit of a hard time", but victory at Caen steadied the nerves and provided a morale-boost ahead of the visit of Barcelona.
Toulouse currently occupy 10th place, right in the middle of the table after a 3-0 win over Rennes in midweek, but can always be expected to put up a fight against the league's big boys.
As coach Alain Casanova said on Thursday: "We know only too well that they're a lot better than we are, but over 90 minutes we're capable of getting a result.
"A football match is never a foregone conclusion, we have to draw on all out talents, it's as simple as that."
PSG will again be without talisman striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic, which gives Casanova further reason for optimism.
"Ibrahimovic is the best player in this league, in fact, he's one of the four best players in the world, along with (Cristiano) Ronaldo, (Lionel) Messi and Neymar, and on top of that he has a nasty habit of scoring against us (five goals in three matches), so it's better we haven't got to face him," Casanova grinned.
However, Paris' strength in depth showed as the Brazilian midfield pair of Lucas and Marquinhos scored the goals which saw off Caen, even if Uruguay striker Edinson Cavani was largely shackled by the home defence.
The win, their first since early August and first away from home this season, put PSG three points behind leaders and bitter rivals Marseille in the Ligue 1 table.
For their part, Toulouse will rely on the goalscoring prowess of in-form striker Wissam Ben Yedder, leading scorer for the past two seasons, who became the club's 10th most prolific striker of all-time with his 35th goal for the club in last week's 3-3 draw with Caen.
PSG are still unbeaten this season, but they drew with Ajax in Amsterdam in thir first Champions League group game.
That places added importance on the meeting with Barcelona - but first they have to negotiate the trip to Toulouse.
"Our level of play isn't of the same brilliance as last year, but we are getting closer to it, little by little," said PSG coach Laurent Blanc.
"Physically we are not at the top, but we dug in a little more in the second half than in the first. We still made chances."
Sunday sees a top-of-the-table clash as third-placed Saint Etienne travel to Marseille.
Saturday (1800 GMT unless stated)
Monaco v Nice (1200), Toulouse v Paris Saint Germain (1500), Lille v Bastia, Lorient v Evian, Metz v Reims, Montpellier v Guingamp
Bordeaux v Rennes (1200), Lens v Caen (1500), Nantes v Lyon (1500), Marseille v Saint Etienne (1900)