PSG coach Laurent Blanc hits back at critics as his unbeaten team prepares to face Lille

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Paris Saint Germain's head coach Laurent Blanc watches during their League One soccer match against Nice, at Parc des Princes stadium, in Paris, Saturday, Nov. 29, 2014. (AP Photo/Francois Mori)


PARIS — Paris Saint-Germain coach Laurent Blanc hit back at mounting criticism of his team on Tuesday, predicting his star-studded squad will soon play the attractive football its fans crave and observers expect.

PSG is unbeaten after 21 games, trailing league leader Marseille by one point, ahead of Wednesday's match at Lille.

"I couldn't care less about observers. I'm beyond that. It doesn't interest me anymore," Blanc said. "We accept the criticism. We're the first to say that, in terms of how we're playing, there's still a lot of room for improvement. We agree, but you (the media) are going way too far and you know it."

Despite boasting Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Edinson Cavani, Lucas and Javier Pastore, PSG has struggled to break down teams in the French league.

In last weekend's dour 1-0 win over Nice, the team managed only two shots on target despite having Cavani and Ibrahimovic in attack.

Even after nine straight wins, fans are still not seeing the feast of attacking football such an expensive, attack-minded side is expected to produce. Lucas, Pastore and defenders Thiago Silva and David Luiz all cost more 40 million euros ($50 million).

PSG often relies on late winners from its star players, rather than dominating sides over an entire match, and is prone to big lapses in form — as was the case against Nice and in last week's 3-1 win over Ajax in the Champions League.

"You can probably say we're not as dominant as we were last season. We have individual players who aren't as good as they were last season and that has a bearing on the whole team," Blanc said. "But I really think that in the future we will improve, I genuinely believe that."

Ajax coach Frank de Boer said PSG's players were too "nonchalant" and said they struggle to concentrate.

Blanc proudly points out that his players are nonetheless resilient.

"They're winning games and you're asking them why they're playing badly. There's reason to be annoyed," Blanc said. "I can't imagine what it's going to be like the day we lose."

After the Lille match, PSG hosts Nantes on Saturday and then travels to play Barcelona in the Champions League next Wednesday, with both teams vying for first place in Group F.

The Barcelona game is shaping up as a crucial one, and not just in deciding the group winner.

"We need this game to gauge our true level," Pastore told beIN sport television on Sunday. "To see if we're really at the top level or not."

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