Paris Saint-Germain’s 3-0 win over Lyon on Wednesday night set up a Coupe de France quarter-final meeting with Saint-Etienne. It also means they have gone an outstanding 644 days without losing to a French club at the Parc des Princes.
Fixtures are coming thick and fast for the Laurent Blanc and the French champions, and with the Champions League round of 16 around the corner, it’s not going to get any easier. However, there is a positive mood surrounding the French capital, and it has seemingly given them an aura of invincibility.
"It's very hard to stay in top shape and form every game. We started slow tonight, but we accelerated in the second half and it paid off. The most important thing tonight was to continue our Cup defence."
PSG will face Les Verts at the quarter-final stage as they look to keep hold of their Coupe de France trophy. They may have started Wednesday night’s game slowly, enduring Lyon’s control of possession in the first half, but the Parisians kept their head and were rewarded after the break.
"The players are to be congratulated because despite playing so many matches, they keep winning, manager Laurent Blanc beamed after the game, via the official PSG website.
"It was a very difficult match. We struggled a little to get into the game. But it's when you're doing it tough that you rediscover our game. That's what I told the players at half-time."
Before they face Chelsea in the first leg of their Champions League clash on Tuesday, PSG ended speculation over the future of their coach, agreeing to extend Blanc's contract for another two years, reported by UEFA.com.
A number of top European clubs are in a state of flux at the moment. Some have new coaches in place or set to take over in the summer. Other clubs aren't sure who will be in charge week to week. However, for once, PSG are showing signs of long-term planning.
Luis Fernandez holds the record for games managed at the club—244—but that was over two terms. Blanc will take charge of his 100th game before the end of the season.
"It's a relationship that is beginning to be long term. This job is not an easy one, any coach will tell you that," Blanc told the official PSG website when asked to describe his relationship with the club. He continued:
I've been here for three years already, and that's quite a long time—the average is much shorter. I have the renewed faith of the directors for another two years...it's the first time that faith has been shown in me over such a long period. I hope I can live up to it.
It would likely take another three years for Blanc to break Fernandez's record, but if he continues to motivate the players and show progression, there's no reason to believe he won't remain at the club beyond this new deal.
Even CEO Nasser Al-Khelaifi is broadcasting an attitude of long-term thinking.
Over the past three years, our coach and his staff are writing with their team a glorious page of the Club’s history, winning trophies and setting records. All conditions are clearly there to opt for stability. I always trusted him as well as believed in his ability to keep taking our team higher each season, while at the same time having them play a beautiful style of football that our fans, and football fans in general, really enjoy.
In contrast to Chelsea and the other clubs PSG are competing with for European glory, the Ligue 1 champions are looking strong and stable, and most importantly, they are in form and steamrolling toward their last-16 clash with Guus Hiddink's side.