When he was appointed this summer to replace Carlo Ancelotti, Laurent Blanc was far from being the most popular choice among Paris Saint Germain fans. The former France manager wasn’t the first choice and his appointment was only due to the fact that many top class managers had turned down the job.
Most football experts were surprised to see Blanc becoming PSG‘s coach. He was coming out of a difficult experience with France ended by an elimination in the quarter finals against Spain in the Euro 2012. For many, Blanc wasn’t the top class manager PSG needed to manage all the big stars the French club has got in its squad. Needless to say that the former France manager’s arrival in the French capital was surrounded by skepticism despite the fact that he led Bordeaux to the title in 2009.
Three months after his appointment, Blanc is exceeding the expectations. His PSG is unbeaten after 18 games, having scored 42 goals and conceded only 11. All football experts agree to say that PSG play better this season than they did last season under Ancelotti. Blanc’s PSG has more possession, dictates the tempo of the game and forces opponents to defend.The Parisians average 60 percent possession this season.
Blanc’s first major decision was to abandon Ancelotti’s 4-4-2 and move to a 4-3-3. With a three man midfield, the team is more balanced even though the new system has forced Edinson Cavani, centre-forward signed from Napoli this summer for 64 million euros to play at an unusual right winger position. Since the change of formation, PSG has won 11 of its 14 games, drawing the remaining three.
Along with great tactical decisions, Blanc has been perfect so far dealing with a locker room full of stars with big egos such as Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Thiago Silva, Thiago Motta and Edinson Cavani. Benching Javier Pastore and Lucas Moura, (both starters under Ancelotti last season) was not an easy decision but Blanc did a fantastic job making the two stars understand that they had to work to get back into the starting XI.
Laurent Blanc was not the first choice to replace Carlo Ancelotti but so far, he’s proving that he was the right one. PSG are are much better than they were last season at the same stage. In just over three months, Blanc has made PSG fans forget that they didn’t want him at their club a few months ago.