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PSG ready for pivotal phase of campaign

03 February 2014, 19:29

Paris - Paris Saint-Germain coach Laurent Blanc admitted on Monday that his team are moving into 'money time' as they begin a busy month of February with a League Cup semi-final at Nantes on Tuesday.

The month ahead will be crucial to PSG's season, with the Ligue 1 leaders travelling to face Bayer Leverkusen in the first leg of their Champions League last-16 tie and also going to title rivals Monaco on Sunday.

But first they will look to get the better of a Nantes side who lost 5-0 at the Parc des Princes in Ligue 1 last month and clinch their place in the final at the Stade de France.

"We are coming up to the money time, so we need to perform," said Blanc, who said the focus for now is solely on winning Tuesday's semi-final.

"We are trying to concentrate fully on this tie. The most important thing in a Cup is to get to the next round, especially as the next game will be at the Stade de France."

Uruguay striker Edinson Cavani will miss the game at the Stade de la Beaujoire with a thigh injury which is expected to keep him out for three weeks, but Yohan Cabaye could start for the three-time winners after coming off the bench to make his debut in Friday's 2-0 league win against Bordeaux.

"Cavani will start running again soon but we didn't want to aggravate it so we will not take any risks. We have a big squad and we need to use it when there are injuries," added Blanc.

"As for Cabaye, I think he is ready to play. Physically he is fine. He has blended naturally into the squad. If I need to use him I won't hesitate."

The second semi-final on Wednesday sees Lyon play host to second-tier Troyes at the Stade de Gerland as they continue their quest for success on four fronts this season.

OL may have lost at Rennes on Sunday, but their recent improved form has put them back in European contention in the league, while they are also still alive in the French Cup and the Europa League.

"The chance to get to the final of a national cup competition is great for us," said Lyon coach Remi Garde, who admits he would love the opportunity to come up against PSG in the showpiece, which will be staged in April.

"That is the dream, yes. But before getting there we need to concentrate on beating Troyes."

The second-tier club have eliminated two top-flight sides on their way to the last four in Valenciennes and Evian, but Lyon should welcome back playmaker Yoann Gourcuff for the tie after a minor leg muscle problem.




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