The Aiglons have been warned: PSG will certainly not attack its quarter-final against Nice, this Wednesday (9:10 p.m., beIN SPORTS and France 3), like last Sunday’s meeting against Reims (2-2). Several reasons for this. The previous match came just after the Champions League round of 16 second leg against Real Sociedad (2-1 victory). Always difficult in terms of motivation… The significant turnover made by Luis Enrique, with six changes in the eleven compared to the one who started in the Basque Country, should have made it possible to avoid decompression, but it did not work. Not enough to win in any case, against a great Reims team.

Especially since Paris-SG has already made the break in the French championship: the Rouge et Bleu have a 10-point lead over their runner-up Brest in the standings. It’s obviously not an excuse, but it’s human… “It’s not the same thing to be first in Ligue 1 with a 10-point lead. We can draw in Ligue 1 because we have margin and we are looking for solutions,” slips Luis Enrique, making no secret of using the championship as a laboratory, in particular to imagine the post-Mbappé era. “Sooner or later, we will have to learn to play without him,” he repeats over and over again. To see if the probable future Madrilenian will be part of the 11 this Wednesday evening.

One thing is certain: Luis Enrique plans to field his A team against the Aiglons. He said it himself: “Obviously, the Coupe de France or the Champions League are high-level competitions, very attractive and which require us to present the best face of the team.” Loud and clear.

The Coupe de France indeed represents a major objective in the eyes of the 53-year-old Asturian technician. With two matches to go before the final, on May 25 in Villeneuve d’Ascq, it would indeed be wrong to miss out. Especially since the draw has proven to be lenient with Paris so far: after lower level teams (Revel, Orléans) and posters at the Parc des Princes (Brest in 8th, Nice in the quarters and Rennes during a potential half). “The Coupe de France is very attractive,” promises the former Barça coach. This is the case in all countries, the English Cup, the Spanish Cup… These are competitions which are centuries old and which are very popular with the public. It’s difficult because it’s a 90-minute match in which you have to be superior to your opponent, otherwise you’ll go to penalties or even be eliminated. We will take it as a final because it is a final. The objective is to play better than Nice.”

Looking at the Aiglons’ latest performances, it won’t be very hard… Francesco Farioli’s players remain in six matches without a victory in the league. Runners-up to PSG yesterday, they were knocked off the podium and even out of the Top 5 in the Ligue 1 standings. And this while Paris has actually fallen off the pace in Ligue 1 (three consecutive draws). It’s not difficult to find where the problem lies: best defense in L1 tied with Brest (19 goals conceded), the Azuréens have the fourth attack… starting from the bottom of the hierarchy (24 goals). Only the last three in L1 (Nantes, Metz, Clermont) have scored less in the championship!

Also read: PSG: “Before arriving, I thought Ligue 1 was easy,” admits Luis Enrique

Coach Farioli makes no secret of it: “We need to find that spark again.” It remains to be seen whether the Parc des Princes is the right place for this… And this is precisely the other reason which leads us to think that PSG will not come to laugh this Wednesday: the Rouge et Bleu have only lost one time this season in the championship, it was September 15, at the Parc des Princes, against… Nice (2-3). “We are the only team to have won at the Parc this season,” said Marcin Bulka, Nice goalkeeper and former… PSG. So, even if time has passed since then, we are capable of doing it,” said the Polish goalkeeper, believing that “this match in Paris can change the rest of the season.” “We are going to face an opponent who will be keen to avenge this defeat in the first leg. They will be motivated,” guesses Farioli, assuring that his players will do “everything to get to the half and continue in this competition that we all care about.”

Spirit of revenge in the Parisian ranks? “No. Until five weeks ago, they were our direct opponent for the Ligue 1 title. There is no feeling of revenge, on the contrary. It’s a team that works very well, that I like a lot, that is very good with the ball and even better without the ball, it’s the best defense in Ligue 1 with Brest. It’s a tough ride. We are lucky to receive but we know what they are capable of. It’s a very motivating match but there is no revenge, these are quite ugly words,” breathes Luis Enrique, holding a conventional speech. A priori, his players do not need additional motivation to want to reach the semi-finals of the Cup. But it can’t hurt to remember the first leg in the league, just to sting some people’s pride.

Note that it is a question of double revenge, knowing that the Gym had dismissed PSG during the round of 16 of the Coupe de France in 2022. The Aiglons of… Christophe Galtier had won on penalties in Paris, notably thanks to Bulka’s performance. “With Gigio Donnarumma, Paris has a goalkeeper who is at least as competitive in this area,” says Farioli. Not false. Especially since the Italian is very good at the moment. Luis Enrique also prepared the exercise before Real. “I hope we don’t go that far,” he notes. He’s probably not the only one.