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May 5, 2014

Zlatan impressed by 'fantastic' Blanc

PSG striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic has hailed the "fantastic work" of Laurent Blanc this season as the club close in on retaining their Ligue 1 title.

Laurent Blanc, Zlatan Ibrahimovic
Zlatan Ibrahimovic is set to win the 11th league title of his career.

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Sidelined for more than a month with a thigh injury, Ibrahimovic told RMC he expects to play some part when PSG play host to Rennes on Wednesday looking to pick up the win that will clinch a second successive French crown.

Blanc, 48, is expected to sign a contract extension once the title has been wrapped up, thereby stifling speculation his tenure at the Parc des Princes could be short-lived.

Having already won the season-opening Trophee des Champions and the Coupe de la Ligue, as well as steering PSG to the Champions League quarterfinals, Blanc has already surpassed the achievements of predecessor Carlo Ancelotti last season.

The former Bordeaux and France boss has impressed even the demanding Ibrahimovic, and the Sweden international suggested Blanc's critics, who came out in force following PSG's cruel Champions League exit to Chelsea, should re-think their attitude.

"He's done fantastic work," Ibrahimovic said. "He has brought qualities to the team, which is confident when it plays. He and his staff do good work. I think people are blind, because they think we're going to win every game 5-0. They think we're going to win the Champions League in 24 hours and all the trophies in a week. That's not how it works."

But for Demba Ba's late goal in the second leg at Stamford Bridge, which sent Chelsea through on away goals to the last four of European football's premier competition at PSG's expense, the French champions would have found themselves just a step away from the final in Lisbon.

The club's ambitious Qatari owners, Qatar Sports Investments (QSI), had stated their aim of winning the Champions League within five years when they took over in 2011.

Ibrahimovic acknowledged the great strides PSG had made since then and, drawing parallels with Chelsea's rise following Roman Abramovich's arrival in west London, claimed the club from the French capital were in advance of the Blues' development at the same stage.

"The team is growing. You can't forget that the project only started two years ago. Chelsea started theirs ten years ago. They have had success and won the Champions League after several years. We have already had success. This year, we have won three trophies out of five. We have done better than last year."

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