Hexagoal Ligue 1 Trophy

Emery salutes Gasset's ASSE turnaround

Publish on 05/04/2018 at 00:00 - S. WILLIS


Unai Emery has praised the work of former Paris Saint-Germain assistant coach Jean-Louis Gasset at Saint-Etienne ahead of the clubs' meeting at the Stade Geoffroy-Guichard on Friday evening.

AS Saint-Etienne - Paris Saint-Germain Logo Paris Saint-Germain

While PSG are closing in on the title, and could wrap things up this weekend, Saint-Etienne's remarkable run under Gasset has Les Verts in the hunt for fifth place and European qualification. When Gasset was appointed head coach just before Christmas Saint-Etienne were just trying to secure their Ligue 1 Conforama status. In 2018, however, it has been a different story and Saint-Etienne have claimed 22 points from 12 games, the fourth-best record in the top division this calendar year.

Gasset won the Ligue 1 Conforama title three times in as many seasons between 2014 and 2016 as Laurent Blanc's assistant at PSG and the 64-year-old has worked wonders at Saint-Etienne, as Emery acknowledged: "They started the season well under Oscar Garcia and after he left there were some doubts," said the Spaniard. "With Gasset in charge the team has progressed, even more since the winter transfer window. The atmosphere will be special in the ground and I think it will be a good game. It's an important game for Saint-Etienne and they'll want to prove they can beat us."

PSG: Champions this weekend?

For PSG to be crowned champions this weekend, they'll need to beat Saint-Etienne and hope Monaco lose at home to Nantes the following day. It could be that PSG need to wait until hosting champions Monaco the following week to seal the deal. Striker Edinson Cavani, the top scorer in the division, said: "We've played Monaco three times this season and we've won every meeting and shown our ambition in every game. We need to show the same at Saint-Etienne and then at home to Monaco, a match that could be decisive in terms of the league."

The omens are not good for Saint-Etienne as they have failed to beat the capital club since November 2012. Last season ASSE fell 5-0 at home to PSG and earlier this season at the Parc des Princes, while Garcia was still in charge, ASSE fell 3-0.

Rémy Cabella, the scorer of a double in the 3-0 win at  European rivals Nantes last Sunday, is full of belief: "We've come from a long way back this season and didn't expect to be onto 40 points so quickly. We now have another objective.  There are seven games to play and if we win them all then we might achieve something huge. We have a massive game to play on Friday. Paris are a difficult team to play but we believe in ourselves. We're unbeaten at home in 2018 and we'd like it to stay that way until the end of the season."

Gasset: 'We need to play a perfect game'

Gasset said: "It would have been better for us had Paris qualified in the Champions League with this match falling between the two legs of the quarter-finals. Once they'd digested the disappointment of getting knocked out, they've really left very little for the opposition in their subsequent outings. I hope the stadium will be sold out, something that was unthinkable when I came in. We're not scared and we know we need to play a perfect game, like a Cup tie."

Probable teams

AS Saint-Etienne: Ruffier; Debuchy, Subotic, L. Perrin (c), Gabriel Silva; Selnaes, M’vila; J. Bamba, Cabella, Monnet-Paquet; Beric

Paris Saint-Germain: Areola; Meunier, Marquinhos (c), Kimpembe, Kurzawa; Pastore, L. Diarra, Rabiot; Mbappé, Cavani, Di Maria