Coupe de la Ligue Preview: Lyon v Paris Saint-Germain
By Football News
Laurent Blanc will try to ease some of the pressure on him when Paris Saint-Germain face Lyon in the Coupe de la Ligue final.
PSG coach Blanc's position at the Parc des Princes has been the subject of speculation following the capital club's exit from the UEFA Champions League at the hands of Chelsea.
The Ligue 1 leaders lost 2-0 in the second leg at Stamford Bridge as Chelsea progressed on away goals after levelling the tie at 3-3.
And PSG followed up that disappointment with a listless performance at Lyon's Stade de Gerland last weekend, slumping to a 1-0 loss that cut their advantage at the top of Ligue 1 to 10 points.
Blanc's men should still be able to secure a second straight French title despite that reverse, but those recent defeats have led to reports that the former France coach could be relieved of his duties.
However, PSG president Nasser Al-Khelaifi has refuted those rumours, stressing that Blanc has his "full support."
But defeat in Saturday's showpiece at Stade de France will only increase the speculation surrounding Blanc's future, and it is Lyon who perhaps hold the psychological advantage going into the game following their surprise league win.
PSG will undoubtedly be the favourites for the clash as they seek to secure a second trophy of the campaign after winning the Trophee des Champions back in August and take another step towards a domestic treble.
"We have to try and bounce back together," goalkeeper Salvatore Sirigu told PSG's official website. "We will keep working calmly and confidently to prepare for the cup final."
Success for Remi Garde's team would secure Lyon's first Coupe de la Ligue title since 2001, when they overcame Monaco 2-1 in the final.
Lyon came close to winning the competition for a second time in 2012, only to suffer an agonising 1-0 loss in extra time against Marseille.
Injuries could derail their hopes of atoning for that disappointment, with a number of their key players unlikely to be involved in the encounter.
Midfielders Clement Grenier (groin) and Yoann Gourcuff (ankle) are both set to miss out, while Gueida Fofana (groin) is still struggling with an injury that has kept him out of the side for a month.
Jordan Ferri - scorer of the winning goal in last weekend's win for Lyon - will likely be asked to control matters in the midfield in the absence of that trio.
Meanwhile, PSG's top scorer Zlatan Ibrahimovic is still sidelined with a hamstring problem, placing the spotlight firmly on striker Edinson Cavani to deliver a fourth Coupe de la Ligue crown for the club.