Makelele bidding to be thorn in PSG's side

Andy Scott
Bastia's head coach Claude Makelele, seen during their French Ligue 1 match against Marseille, at the Armand Cesari stadium in Bastia, Mediterranean island of Corsica, on August 9, 2014
View photos
Bastia's head coach Claude Makelele, seen during their French Ligue 1 match against Marseille, at the Armand Cesari stadium in Bastia, Mediterranean island of Corsica, on August 9, 2014 (AFP Photo/Pascal Pochard-Casabianca)

Paris (AFP) - A familiar face will hope to make it another frustrating day for Paris Saint-Germain on Saturday as the champions play their first home game of the new Ligue 1 season against SC Bastia.

The Corsicans are now coached by former France midfielder Claude Makelele, who gave up his position as Laurent Blanc's assistant at the Parc des Princes to become a coach in his own right.

Makelele also finished his playing career as captain of PSG and his presence on the opposition bench adds extra intrigue to a game that carries real importance to the hosts after they kicked off the campaign with a 2-2 draw at Reims.

"I am very happy that things have turned out this way and I can't wait to be at the Parc des Princes," said Makelele of the prospect of returning to Paris after last week's 3-3 draw with Marseille, another of his old clubs.

Makelele's previous job means he knows exactly how PSG will set themselves up, but he played down Bastia's chances of recording a first ever win in this fixture.

"Laurent Blanc has a clear philosophy and he will not change just because I have been his assistant," said the 41-year-old.

"I know well enough how things work there to have an idea of what to expect but I have no miracle recipe. Nobody can compare themselves with PSG in Ligue 1. In my view, no team will go to the Parc and win. But we will do everything to be the only ones who do."

PSG, who have now failed to win their opening game in any of the four seasons since the Qatari takeover in the capital, were dealt a blow on Monday when captain Thiago Silva suffered a hamstring injury in a 2-1 friendly victory against Napoli that will rule him out for several weeks.

Blanc has been criticised for bringing Silva back so soon after he was afforded a long summer break, and he may now be tempted to give new recruit David Luiz a little longer to build up his fitness.

"Thiago Silva did not return to training too soon. If we need to blame someone for this injury then I plead guilty. I take responsibility," Blanc said.

On the prospect of coming up against his old assistant, he added: "I didn't expect him to leave us but I am not disappointed. It was his wish, his choice to seize the opportunity."

- Monaco look to bounce back -

There are seven new coaches in Ligue 1 this season and the only one to lose on his debut was Leonardo Jardim, whose Monaco side were beaten 2-1 at home by Lorient despite seeing fit-again Radamel Falcao come off the bench and score a penalty.

They will look to bounce back at Bordeaux, whose new coach Willy Sagnol is a former Monaco player.

"Like Monaco, Bordeaux have a new coach who advocates attacking football so we can expect a good game. We know we need to react after the defeat against Lorient," said Monaco goalkeeper Danijel Subasic, who will miss the influence in central defence of suspended captain Ricardo Carvalho.

Elsewhere, Lyon travel to Toulouse on Saturday while Marcelo Bielsa's Marseille entertain Montpellier and Saint-Etienne take on Reims on Sunday.

In the only game played Friday, a highly contentious penalty award allowed Lille to claim their first win of the season, with Divock Origi's spot-kick sealing a 1-0 victory against newly-promoted Caen.

Lille finished third last season to qualify for the Champions League, their success based first and foremost on a watertight defence.

Fixtures (Kick-offs 1800GMT unless stated)


Paris Saint-Germain v SC Bastia (1500), Lens v Guingamp, Lorient v Nice, Metz v Nantes, Rennes v Evian, Toulouse v Lyon


Marseille v Montpellier, Saint-Etienne v Reims (both 1500), Bordeaux v Monaco (1900)