PARIS: Paris Saint-Germain coach Laurent Blanc has admitted it will not be easy for his team to focus on football as the French champions play for the first time since last week’s terror attacks.
“Everyone is affected, but life goes on,” said Blanc at a press conference on Friday ahead of Saturday’s trip to play Lorient in Ligue 1.
PSG were not in action last weekend due to the international break. Many of Blanc’s players have only just returned to the French capital after playing for their countries and Blanc said none had come to him asking not to play in Brittany.
“We can’t avoid talking about the context. Everyone is affected, but life goes on. We have to carry on with our jobs to get over all this.”
The game in Lorient is set to go ahead just eight days after the shocking terrorist attacks in Paris and by the Stade de France, while France were playing Germany in a friendly, that have killed 130 people.
Among the dead were two men who ran an Italian restaurant in the Paris suburbs and who were close to members of the PSG squad, including goalkeeper Salvatore Sirigu and midfielder Javier Pastore.
“They are affected and putting a lot of things into perspective too,” added Blanc, who this week celebrated his 50th birthday.
“There is a job to do, which has been done, and which is easier to say than do. But life goes on.
“It will be difficult to play football this weekend, but we have to do it, because to not do so would be letting the terrorists win.”
When asked how he and his staff have dealt with the squad’s mental state after the events, Blanc said: “It has not been easy because you need to find solutions, ways of lifting them.
“The message we have put across to them, despite all that, despite the shock and despite being touched to some degree or other by what happened, is that life goes on and our life is to play football.
“We are asked to prepare for a match, to play it. We will do so with great professionalism. That is our job.”
However, Pastore will not travel because of a calf injury, while Marco Verratti is not fit and Brazil defender Davis Luiz will not feature for the Ligue 1 leaders in order to protect his knee from Lorient’s artificial surface.
In addition, Argentine duo Angel Di Maria and Ezequiel Lavezzi sit out the game because of calf and knee complaints respectively.