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PSG seek to reassert all-conquering image at Lille's expense
Ligue 1 pacesetters Paris Saint-Germain host Lille on Saturday at the Parc des Princes searching for their first win in three games. On 2 December Unai Emery's expensively assembled side lost for the first time this season in Ligue 1 at Strasbourg.
Three days after that 2-1 setback, Emery’s men went down 3-1 at Bayern Munich in the final game of the group stages in the Champions League.
To put the losses into context, the reverse at Strasbourg means they only have a nine point cushion over second placed Lyon. And in the Champions League, they still progressed to the last 16 as group winners.
The PSG faithful have not had to entertain consecutive losses since the end of 2014. And despite the hysteria in some parts of the French football media, Emery said he would not entertain gloom and self-loathing.
“How on earth can we really doubt ourselves when we are nine points clear in the title race and into the knockout stages of the Champions League as winners of the group?”
Victory on Saturday should be relatively straight forward against third from bottom Lille even if PSG are missing 222 million euros worth of Neymar talent. The 25-year-old is suspended for the encounter. But the Brazilian was not purchased to outfox the likes of lowly Lille. He was drafted in to unlock the defences of European giants in the continent’s most prestigious competition.
"I’m always critical of myself whether we win or lose," said Emery. “When we lose, I try to keep calm and try to transmit that to my players.”
Emery’s quest to remain in the zen zone should be aided by visitors who have not won at the Parc des Princes since 1996.