Blanc extols virtues of PSG's midfield trio
October 03, 2013 - 2:51:30 pm
PARIS: Coach Laurent Blanc heaped praise on midfield trio Marco Verratti, Thiago Motta and Blaise Matuidi after Paris St Germain swept aside Benfica 3-0 in the Champions League.
Zlatan Ibrahimovic scored twice and Marquinhos was also on target on Wednesday as PSG made it a maximum six points from two games in Group C but Blanc seemed especially keen to focus on the virtues of Verratti, Motta and Matuidi.
"When we manage to control possession we don't suffer too many scares," the former France centre half told reporters. "You have to have the players to do that and I'm lucky to have them.
"Marco is very good, he gives a lot of consistency and confidence to the team, and you can't forget Thiago Motta.
"He and Blaise Matuidi have a big role to play. They put Marco in a position where he can start the moves, build the play, and that is the best way to use him."
Blanc recently dropped playmaker Javier Pastore, opting instead for a three-man midfield involving Motta, Matuidi and Verratti.
The trio stifled Benfica at the Parc des Princes with their defensive work and were also a constant threat going forward.
Injuries meant Motta made only two Champions League appearances last season in PSG's run to the quarter-finals.
The excellence of his work on Wednesday came as no surprise after he shone in previous spells at Barcelona and Inter Milan while the 20-year-old Verratti is beginning to show a pleasing level of maturity.
Blanc has started Verratti, dubbed in Italy as the 'new Andrea Pirlo', in seven of the club's 10 games this season.
"Marco is a natural-born player and he shows that," said the coach. "When he has the ball he rarely loses it and he can dictate the play."
Matuidi does most of the ugly work in midfield, constantly harrassing the opposition, but he can also flourish in attack as he showed by setting up Marquinhos's first-half goal.
PSG will look to maintain their 100 percent record in this season's Champions League when they visit bottom club Anderlecht on Oct. 23. (Reuters)