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Goalkeeper Mickael Landreau's poor form a growing concern as PSG fights relegation

Goalkeeper Mickael Landreau's poor form a growing concern as PSG fights relegation

Paris Saint-Germain goalkeeper Mickael Landreau has received the backing of coach Paul Le Guen after a series of errors in recent matches.
However, with PSG hovering just above the relegation zone, Le Guen cannot afford another blunder by Landreau in Sunday's trip to second-place Bordeaux, which is challenging Lyon for the title.
"Mickael will play against Bordeaux," Le Guen said. "He is our best goalkeeper."
Le Guen is not likely to forget that it was Landreau's outstanding form that helped PSG narrowly avoid relegation last season. But with PSG now in 16th place with 31 points, the coach's patience is being tested.
"I hope there won't be another error," Le Guen said.
Landreau is France's No. 2 goalkeeper behind Gregory Coupet, but his form has been steadily declining since he allowed a 40-meter shot from striker James McFadden to drift over his head in a 1-0 loss to Scotland in September.
France coach Raymond Domenech has yet to change what he calls his "hierarchy" of goalkeepers, but PSG's fans have turned on Landreau, whistling at him during Tuesday's League Cup semifinal match against Auxerre.
Landreau jumped to catch striker Daniel Niculae's tame header in the 74th minute, but punched the ball into the roof of the net to give Auxerre a lifeline at 2-1 down after it had been totally dominated.
Defender Zoumana Camara hugged a relieved Landreau after a late goal sealed a 3-1 win, and the players are still supporting him.
"He should be left alone," PSG striker Pauleta said. "He has played 400 matches in the first division."
Last week, Landreau spilled a routine free kick to Sergio Almiron and Monaco grabbed a draw. Against Marseille on Feb. 17, Landreau came for a cross and missed the ball, allowing Taye Taiwo to head in.
Those errors followed others against Rennes and Morocco, while against Toulouse on Dec. 15 Landreau rushed out of goal and was lobbed by Camara's attempted back pass.
"He has been affected, that's for sure," Landreau's agent, Bruno Satin, told L'Equipe on Thursday. "We are a bit worried. We would like him to get back to his best level quickly."
In the closest title race since the 2003-04 season, when Lyon clawed back a 10-point deficit to overtake Monaco, Bordeaux has narrowed Lyon's lead to three points with 12 rounds remaining.
Lyon, which is chasing a seventh straight title, takes on Lille at Stade de France on Saturday.
Lyon coach Alain Perrin may be tempted to rest players like standout striker Karim Benzema ahead of the return leg of the Champions League's second round on Tuesday at Manchester United, where a 1-0 win would qualify Lyon for the quarterfinals.
Perrin's dilemma could be solved by the return to form of Brazil striker Fred, who scored both goals in the 2-0 win over Metz last week.
Fred, who had been out injured and not scored in the French league since April 2007, now wants more goals.
"My objective is to work hard and to reach the 10-goal mark before the end of the championship," Fred told Lyon's Web site.
In Saturday's other matches, it is: Le Mans vs Strasbourg; Lens vs. Toulouse; Lorient vs. Nancy; Marseille vs. Auxerre; Metz vs. Caen; Monaco vs. Valenciennes; and Sochaux vs. Rennes.
Saint-Etienne hosts Nice in Sunday's other game.
Meanwhile, leading sports figures are uniting to combat racism in French soccer and want harsher punishments.
UEFA president Michel Platini, sports minister Bernard Laporte and French league president Frederic Thiriez spoke out after racism tarnished the image of French soccer once again last weekend.


Updated : 2021-02-27 21:32 GMT+08:00