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Football: Blanc’s PSG focused on Trophee des Champions in Beijing

PSG coach Laurent Blanc said Tuesday’s 6-2 win over Kitchee was mainly preparation for Saturday’s Trophee des Champions against Guingamp in Beijing.

PSG coach Laurent Blanc said Tuesday’s 6-2 win over Kitchee was mainly preparation for Saturday’s Trophee des Champions against Guingamp in Beijing.

July 30, 2014: Laurent Blanc said that Paris Saint-Germain’s 6-2 friendly win over Hong Kong champions Kitchee on Tuesday night was ideal preparation as his side bid to win a second straight Trophee des Champions in Beijing on Saturday.

 

PSG will face Coupe de France winners Guingamp as reward for retaining their Ligue 1 title in May. Their tour of Asia kicked off with ‘The Meeting of Champions’ at Hong Kong Stadium, where Kitchee took a shock fifth-minute lead through Spanish striker Juan Belencoso before PSG replied with four goals in 17 minutes to lead 4-1 at half-time.

 

In the second half, young French winger Jean-Christophe Bahebeck netted his second and captain Zlatan Ibrahimovic completed his hat-trick before Kitchee rounded off the scoring in the 90th minute.

 

“Kitchee are a good team and they gave us a surprise at the very beginning. We then came back from this and settled down. I felt we played a pretty good game after this. Our hats off to Kitchee and the fans,” said Blanc, who took over as head coach from Carlo Ancelotti last July.

 

“It was quite tough conditions to deal with, playing in Hong Kong, in such weather. Even though it wasn’t raining, it was very humid, so we had to cope with this. However, the match was mainly to prepare for the game on Saturday in Beijing, the Trophee des Champions. Our focus is more on Saturday’s game because that’s what this trip is mainly about.”

 

Blanc, 48, is beginning his second season in charge of the Qatar-owned club, who were knocked out of the UEFA Champions League quarter-finals on away goals by Chelsea in March, a year after suffering the same fate at the same stage against Barcelona, also following a 3-3 aggregate draw.

 

The former France defender is missing several players in Asia, including Brazil centre-backs David Luiz and Thiago Silva, and France internationals Yohan Cabaye and Blaise Matuidi, who all played in the recent World Cup. However, he said that was the price to pay for playing for one of the world’s richest football clubs, whose competitive season will kick off on August 2, with a trophy at stake.

 

“For many people out there, they probably think that the season hasn’t started yet,” Blanc said. “But for us, we have started our training early and with all these pre-season matches. It makes for a much longer season, but that’s a test and a challenge for this team.”

 

Blanc was part of France’s World Cup-winning side in 1998 and eventually won 97 caps, returning to coach Les Bleus from 2010 to 2012.

 

The Trophee des Champions has been held outside France since 2009, when it was staged in Canada. It has since been held in Tunisia, Morocco, USA and Gabon.

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