Paris Saint-Germain coach Laurent Blanc has never been the most popular of managers, but his stock rose after outfoxing Jose Mourinho in the Champions League.
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Blanc is regularly criticised for being too boring—he certainly lacks the charisma of Marcelo Bielsa—and doubts have persisted—both with France and Paris Saint-Germain—about his ability to manage the big personalities and big egos of the sport.
However, it’s hard to fault his tactical acumen following PSG’s Champions League progression against Chelsea.
Looking ahead to the quarter-final against Barcelona, will Blanc be able to pull off an unlikely upset?
The coach has shown massive improvement from last season when Paris were eliminated by Chelsea in the quarter-finals, being defeated on away goals following a 3-3 aggregate draw.
While Chelsea are arguably stronger under Mourinho this season, PSG delivered a masterclass at Stamford Bridge—despite being down to ten men for the final hour of normal time and extra time following Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s red card.
PSG negotiated the rest of the clash exceptionally, their game management was impressive, Blanc’s substitutions were astute, and his decision to include Thiago Motta rather than David Luiz at the base of the midfield paid off.
PSG will head to Barcelona without any fears—particularly as they’ll be able to compete with eleven men once again!