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Zenit sign Bart Simpson

The Toe Poke 14 hours ago
Read
Jun 28, 2013

Blanc's the right man, says PSG chief

New Paris Saint-Germain coach Laurent Blanc has set the target of improving on the Ligue 1 champions' performance last season.

Paris Saint-Germain president Nasser Al Khelaifi has told Le Parisien Laurent Blanc is "the best choice" to lead the Ligue 1 champions.

• Show your worth, says Platini
• Cantona backing for Blanc
• Holyman: Things to get right
• Blog: PSG get their man

Al Khelaifi predicted that former France coach, 47, would lead the ambitious club to even greater success than his predecessor, Carlo Ancelotti.

He told the French capital's main daily paper he was "very happy" with the choice of Blanc, who took Bordeaux to runners-up spot in 2008, and the Ligue 1 title the following year, in his only previous club job.

"I'm very happy with this choice," he said. "He's an ambitious coach. He did good work with Bordeaux and also had success with France in a very difficult period.

"He's the best choice for us. I'm confident. He's going to do very good work and help us achieve our objectives."

Al Khelaifi said those objectives were for PSG to retain their league title, "win one of the domestic cup competitions and get big results in the Champions League".

He added: "We're not saying we have to reach the quarters or the semi-finals because, in that competition, a lot depends on your opponents and the draw.

"The most important thing is to do your utmost to go as far as possible. But we know that it's not easy to play on all fronts."

But former France international Olivier Dacourt told RMC he believed Blanc's appointment represented "a step back" for PSG.

"Carlo Ancelotti is among the top five coaches in the world. If you have to replace Ancelotti, you have to do it with someone at least as good, if not better. The moment you don't do that, it's a step back," he said.

"When you're a club like PSG, when you have the sort of ambitious project the Qataris [the PSG ownership] have, and when you lose Ancelotti, people think you're then going to go out and get a great coach. In international terms, it's a fact - Laurent Blanc is not in that bracket."

At his official presentation on Thursday, Blanc acknowledged his appointment had been made late considering that the bulk of the PSG squad return for pre-season training on July 1.

Reports have claimed a key reason for this is that he was not among PSG's main targets for the role, who were rumoured to have included Andre Villas-Boas, Michael Laudrup, Guus Hiddink and Fabio Capello.

Al Khelaifi, however, said: "We talked to some coaches, that's true... [but] Laurent Blanc was one of our priorities."

He added that Ancelotti's ambition of moving to Real Madrid had prolonged the process, explaining: "We weren't in a hurry. We took our time to talk and think about it. We had to sort out Carlo's departure, talk to Real. Finally, we reached a good agreement for PSG."

The PSG chief said the compensation Madrid had paid for Ancelotti, who had a year left on his contract, was "a lot more" than the €4.5 million being reported, and said two friendlies would be played against Madrid with the Paris club keeping all the gate money.

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