Ibrahimovic says 'the important thing' is winning, deferring credit for Paris Saint-Germain's rise into a European power.
‘My goalscoring records are just a bonus’ says PSG’s Zlatan Ibrahimovic
Zlatan Ibrahimovic has tried to play down his role in turning Paris Saint-Germain into a leading European force as the Ligue 1 leaders prepare to go to Lorient on Friday evening.
The Swede has been idolised by PSG fans ever since he scored a double to help the capital club come from two goals down to draw 2-2 at home to Lorient on his debut on the opening day of last season.
Last weekend he got two more goals in the 2-0 home win against Saint-Etienne that kept the reigning champions eight points clear of Monaco at the top of the table.
As a result, he moved on to 40 goals in all competitions this season, breaking Carlos Bianchi’s previous club record of 39 in a single campaign, set back in 1978, but Ibrahimovic did not appear overly impressed.
“The important thing was to win. My goalscoring records are just a bonus,” said the former AC Milan striker, who has 25 goals in Ligue 1 alone this season.
“We’re having a fantastic season and that’s why we have such a big lead atop the table. It’s not because we’re just too strong for the league or because Ligue 1 is too easy. It’s because we train very hard.”
Laurent Blanc’s side are also eagerly waiting to discover who they will face in the quarter-finals of the Champions League, with the draw to be made on Friday.
Bayern Munich, Real Madrid, Barcelona and Chelsea are among the possible opponents for PSG in the last eight, but none of them will relish coming up against the French champions.
Domestically, their dominance is such that they have lost just one of their last 40 Ligue 1 games, so a trip to Lorient’s Stade du Moustoir will hold no fears, even if they must adapt to its artificial surface.
Lorient have been one of France’s most stable clubs in recent years. However, uncertainty over the future of long-serving coach Christian Gourcuff appears to have had an impact on performances, and the mid-table Bretons have won just one of their last eight matches.
Gourcuff has spent quarter of a century in charge of Lorient in three separate spells, the most recent an unbroken stint since 2003.
In that time he has helped turn a tiny provincial outfit into an established top-division club who are currently enjoying their eighth consecutive season in Ligue 1.
But Gourcuff’s contract is due to expire in the summer and he has not accepted the offer of a two-year extension, with his relationship with the club’s hierarchy having deteriorated in recent times.
“There is no mutual confidence and we have very different feelings on a number of issues,” said Gourcuff, who has seen many of his best players sold on in recent years and was especially unhappy at losing midfielder Mario Lemina to Marseille on the last day of the summer transfer window.
Gourcuff, whose son Yoann plays for Lyon, says he “still wants to work as a coach” and admits it would be “heartbreaking” to leave Lorient, but his departure from the club now appears inevitable.
At least 12-goal leading scorer Vincent Aboubakar should be able to return for the hosts after missing last week’s 2-0 loss to Sochaux due to a knee problem.
Yohan Cabaye is a doubt for PSG with the back problem he picked up last weekend, so Marco Verratti should return in midfield. Gregory Van der Wiel, the Dutch international right-back, is still struggling with a knee problem.
Monaco host third-placed Lille on Sunday looking to increase the gap between the teams, which currently sits at nine points, while Saint-Etienne host Sochaux, Lyon go to Guingamp and struggling duo Marseille and Rennes meet in the pick of the other matches this weekend.
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