Lyon v Paris Saint-Germain: Blanc praises Silva impact
Paris Saint- Germain boss Laurent Blanc has expressed his pleasure with Thiago Silva's return to form ahead of their crucial Ligue 1 battle at Lyon.
Two of the league's heavyweights will clash at the Stade de Gerland on Sunday, with leaders Lyon hoping to extend their two-point lead on both Marseille and the Parisians.
The match shapes as crucial in what appears to be a three-way Ligue 1 title race and Lyon are without key men Alexandre Lacazette (hamstring) and defender Milan Bisevac (knee).
But while Lyon will lick their wounds, Blanc is thankful towering defender Silva is back to his best form.
The Brazilian missed a chunk of the season with a hamstring problem and since his return has impressed for PSG, who qualified for the Coupe de la Ligue final - where they will face Bastia - with a 1-0 win at Lille on Tuesday.
"It's very reassuring that Thiago Silva is getting back to his best - but I was never worried that he would," Blanc told the club's official website.
"You have to be able to separate the quality and potential of a player from his form.
"Thiago went through a difficult moment, but he has enormous potential.
"So when you add form to that, you get a world class player."
Lyon's loss of Lacazette was keenly felt in their goalless draw at Monaco on Sunday, with the striker having scored in nine successive games before missing that outing.
The forward has hit 21 goals in 22 league matches this season but without Ligue 1's leading marksman, Lyon struggled in attack.
And during the match they lost experienced defender Bisevac to a serious knee injury.
Bisevac will miss the rest of the season and Hubert Fournier's side can ill-afford more absences.
Since losing to Lens in August, Lyon have won 10 consecutive home fixtures in Ligue 1, but PSG have won their last six matches in all competitions, an ideal response to a shock 4-2 loss at Bastia last month.
Their last three wins have been by a 1-0 scoreline - something no doubt influenced by Silva's return to form.
PSG beat Lyon 2-1 in the Coupe de la Ligue final last term, with Edinson Cavani's first-half double meaning Lacazette's 56th-minute strike was a mere consolation.
They split the league meetings in 2013-14, with Lyon rebounding from a 4-0 loss in Paris with a 1-0 home success in April.
The clash between the two sides earlier this season saw Lyon snatch a 1-1 draw thanks to Samuel Umtiti's effort six minutes from time.