Despite distractions, PSG must focus on French Ligue 1

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 16 February, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 16 February, 2013, 5:09am


After a week dominated by David Beckham and a fine Champions League win in Spain, Paris Saint-Germain must focus their minds on the return to domestic duty ahead of their trip to play Sochaux tomorrow.

The Ligue 1 leaders are in a strong position to qualify for the quarter-finals of the Champions League after a 2-1 victory against Valencia in the first leg of their last-16 tie on Tuesday.

On Wednesday, Beckham, 37, trained with his new team for the first time, drawing crowds of journalists from across the world to PSG's base in the western Paris suburbs.

The club's coach, Carlo Ancelotti, hinted last week that the British player. who agreed to a five-month contract at the end of January, might make his debut at the mundane surroundings of Sochaux's Stade Bonal.

Just in case he does turn out, members of the world's media will again be present and there will be a sell-out crowd of 20,000 in attendance.

But Beckham should be nothing more than a sideshow to PSG's quest for another win that would see them maintain a healthy lead over Lyon and Marseille at the top of the table.

They started the weekend six points clear of Lyon, and are on a run of 13 games unbeaten in all competitions which includes 12 wins.

"The team is in good shape just now. We have built up lots of confidence," said Ezequiel Lavezzi, who netted the opening goal in Valencia.

Sochaux, meanwhile, lie in the relegation zone.

"Everybody knows that PSG are a great team," said Sochaux's Algerian international playmaker Ryad Boudebouz.

"But if we play without fear we will have a chance of winning the game."

Ancelotti has to make a call on the doubt over Brazilian Lucas for the encounter, while it looks like Thiago Silva will need more time before returning from a thigh injury.

Second-placed Lyon had kept pace for such a long time, but their chances have been undermined seriously by back-to-back league defeats against Ajaccio and Lille.

They have a tough trip to Bordeaux tomorrow in a game that comes less than 72 hours after both clubs faced tough away ties in Europe.

Marseille also have seen their form dip since the winter break, but they will hope that being out of Europe fixtures turns out to be an advantage.

The south-coast club will be seeking revenge when they play host to Valenciennes, who thumped them 4-1 in the reverse fixture in September.

They have won just once in five league outings this year, however.

"We are the biggest threat to our own chances," warned coach Elie Baup. "It is up to us to beat Valenciennes. Taking all three points is imperative because we have dropped a lot since the winter break."