Paris Saint-Germain coach Unai Emery is determined to end the season with a bang, with giant-killing EA Guingamp up next before a Coupe de France final against third tier Les Herbier VF next month.
Paris Saint-Germain - EA Guingamp
PSG wrapped up their seventh Ligue 1 Conforama title with an impressive 7-1 victory over incumbents AS Monaco two weeks ago, but Emery came under pressure after the capital club's last 16 exit from the UEFA Champions League, and the coach confirmed to his players on Friday that he would leave at the end of the season.
Thomas Tuchel and Arsene Wenger are among the names international media have been linking with a role at PSG, but Emery has moved to quell any speculation as to his own future destination, taking to his social media accounts to make his voice heard.
'Focused on PSG'
"Neither I nor anyone in my name has met with any other club," Emery, who has hoovered up six major honours since joining from Sevilla in June 2016, told his 150,000 followers on Twitter. "I'd like to make it clear that I'm still focused on PSG and the objectives we have left."
One of those objectives is breaking the 100-point barrier for the 2017/18 campaign. The champions need 10 points from a possible 12, and can be confident of collecting them, having picked up another three at resurgent Girondins de Bordeaux last Sunday even without the attacking talents of Neymar and Angel Di Maria.
"We showed character. It's another step forward and we're happy with the result," explained Emery of the 1-0 win, sealed thanks to Giovani Lo Celso's late strike. "I'm satisfied with the players. It was important to keep our run of wins going after being crowned champions and qualifying for the Coupe de France final."
PSG's opponents in May's showpiece at the Stade de France are Les Herbiers, who beat Domino's Ligue 2 sides AJ Auxerre and RC Lens on the path to the final, so Sunday's game against Guingamp makes for good practice against giant-killers, the Bretons having themselves beaten Monaco 3-1 last Saturday.
"It was a dream evening," said coach Antoine Kombouaré, who led PSG to the Coupe de France title in 2010. "I told the players before the match that we mustn't forget the 6-0 defeat we suffered last time we played each other. This was a chance for revenge. We wanted to grab them by the neck and not let go, and that's what we did. I'm a really happy coach. We were stronger than them in every area."
Guingamp's chances of pulling off another upset are not helped by the fact that midfielder Lucas Deaux is still some way from match fitness after sustaining a calf injury in March. Abdoul Camara has undergone surgery on his knee, meanwhile, though the form of Jimmy Briand and Marcus Thuram in attack make his absence feel less pronounced.
Neymar, meanwhile, is expected to return for PSG's final game of the season, against SM Caen, but for now he remains on the sidelines with Di Maria (kidney problems), Marco Verratti (groin strain) and Lassana Diarra (knock).
PSG: Areola; Meunier, Marquinhos, Kimpembe, Berchiche; Draxler, Lo Celso, Rabiot; Mbappé, Cavani, Nkunku
Guingamp: Johnsson; Martins Pereira, Kerbrat, Sorbon, Ikoko; Diallo, Didot; Salibur, Grenier, Thuram; Briand