PSG can't afford another slip at Ajaccio
Paris Saint-Germain knows it cannot afford any more slip-ups when it travels to Corsica to face Ligue 1 minnows Ajaccio on Sunday.
After again spending millions on top players in the offseason, big things are expected from PSG. But it got the season off to a disappointing start when it needed a last-minute penalty to salvage a 2-2 draw at home to Lorient last weekend.
Javier Pastore, who joined PSG from Palermo for ?42 million last year, is well aware of the expectation he and his teammates are under.
"This season, we are obliged to win every game," he says. "We didn't take our opportunities in the opening game, but the first match of the season is always difficult.
"We need to be calmer, more patient and confident in our play and travel to Ajaccio with the idea of fighting for the title from the start."
Last season, PSG spent more than ?100 million ($123 million) but finished second to a Montpellier team comprised of talented homegrown players, a superb centre forward and the odd veteran in one of French football's greatest upsets.
PSG, which is owned by Qatari investors QSI, upped its spending this year, splashing out ?150 million ($185 million) on the likes of striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Brazil defender Thiago Silva and 19-year-old midfielder Lucas.
Ibrahimovic scored twice to help his team come back from two goals down against Lorient, but is a doubt after he pulled out of Sweden's squad to face Brazil midweek with a foot injury.
Ajaccio will be hoping to have its own star striker ready in time for the match. Club president Alain Orsoni is currently in negotiations with Cesena to sign former Juventus and Chelsea forward Adrian Mutu.
Montpellier also got off to a disappointing start and will be hoping to do better at Lorient on Saturday.
Missing several key players through injury and suspension, it drew 1-1 at home to Toulouse.
Midfielder Jamel Saihi will miss the Lorient match after he was sent off.
"We can't say we're happy, nor disappointed," Benjamin Stambouli said after the game. "It was the first match, with incidents that forced us to show solidarity.
"We're going to work hard, eradicate our errors ... and on the day when we finish with 11 players, we won't be too bad."
Meanwhile, Bastia will be hoping to continue its good start against fellow promoted outfit Reims on Saturday.
The Corsican team beat Sochaux 3-2 last weekend but coach Frederic Hantz has urged his players to keep their feet on the ground.
"It's an excellent result...but now we won't get above ourselves," he said. "I'll take stock after the first four matches."
In Saturday's other games, it is: Lyon v Troyes; Brest v Evian; Toulouse v Saint-Etienne and Valenciennes v Nice.
Lille hosts Nancy on Friday, while Sunday sees Bordeaux entertain Rennes and Sochaux travel to Marseille.