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Laurent Blanc: Ibrahimovic's absence changes everything

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Laurent Blanc: Ibrahimovic's absence changes everything
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Laurent Blanc: Ibrahimovic's absence changes everything

Laurent Blanc has admitted that the unavailability of star striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic "changes everything" in terms of Paris Saint-Germain "effectiveness".

The French champions lost the Sweden international to a hamstring injury during the first leg of their Champions League semifinal against Chelsea but managed to defeat Stade de Reims 3-0 in their first fixture without their talisman.

However, the club has failed to score since, losing 2-0 in its return clash with Chelsea to go out of Europe on away goals before being beaten 1-0 by Ligue 1 rivals Olympique Lyonnais last weekend.

Given that PSG must face the latter again Saturday, this time in the Coupe de la Ligue final, Blanc admits he is desperately hoping to work out a way in which they can get more out of Ibrahimovic's replacement up front, Edinson Cavani.

"When you lose Ibra, a player so important to your style, then that changes everything," the former France international told reporters on Friday. "You can compensate for his loss but the style changes because Edinson's style is not exactly the same as Ibra's.

"We haven't scored in the last two games and we need to get our effectiveness in front of goal back. We need players who pass the ball well as [Ezequiel] Lavezzi, Cavani and Lucas [Moura] like to get into space and they need good service."

Although PSG is 10 points clear at the top of Ligue 1, it is under intense pressure to also deliver the Coupe de la Ligue, given the bitter disappointment which followed its Champions League exit at the hands of Chelsea.

However, Blanc, whose position is now being called into question, says this is not unfamiliar territory.

"We're used to the pressure being on us and that doesn't change," the PSG boss said. "Both teams want to win the final. I have no doubts concerning my team but I know they [Lyon] are playing to win too. If you insist then, OK, I'll accept the pressure is more on us because you think PSG should win every game.

"It's normal that people are demanding of PSG. Wait for [Saturday's] result before assessing the season, though. There are two possibilities so why are the questions about a potential negative result? The positive result is the alternative. We want to win and we're preparing to win and there are two possible results."

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