Blanc: PSG have nothing to fear
Paris Saint-Germain coach Laurent Blanc has admitted his side have little to fear going into the second leg of their last-16 tie with Bayer Leverkusen.
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Blanc, 48, saw his team tear apart their German opponents 4-0 in the first leg at the BayArena, leaving Wednesday's return fixture at the Parc des Princes seemingly a mere formality.
"We're not necessarily afraid of very much," Blanc said. "Tomorrow we'll play to win as we have done since the start of the season. We have to confirm what we did very well in the first game. Tomorrow, there is a match to win and we have to prepare ourselves for that. We've been preparing well since Monday and I hope that tomorrow we'll give the best of answers. We're at home so it's up to us to play, create the chances to win the game. We don't have to fear anything."
Blanc has taken precautions, however, by leaving out both Marco Verratti and Blaise Matuidi with the midfield duo given a breather, allowing Yohan Cabaye and Adrien Rabiot to feature. Zlatan Ibrahimovic is also likely to play, despite a recurring back problem that has hampered the Swede in recent weeks.
"It's perhaps necessary to think about protecting him, but he always wants to play," Blanc said. "As for his back problems, they are much, much, much better. We'll wait until this afternoon's training session. But knowing him, I know what his answer will be if I ask him whether he wants to play the game or not."
There is little doubt Cabaye will be enthusiastic about making what will be only his second start for the French champions since his winter move from Newcastle United.
The France international, 28, scored his team's fourth in Leverkusen to clinch a win that alerted the rest of European football to PSG's potential to win the competition. Cabaye, however, remained cautious about their chances of being crowned European champions in May.
"Each match is different. We made a big step forward after the first game, and we already kind of sent the message in Germany. But there will be a second leg, then the draw for the quarterfinals, the semis. It's a very difficult competition, each match will be tough. The other teams also count on us going as far as possible and, anyway, each player is determined to go far."