Coupe de France: Sylvain Armand looks ahead to Rennes vs Guingamp
Despite his vast experience, veteran defender Sylvain Armand maintains the Coupe de France final will always be special.
Last Updated: 02/05/14 4:54pm
Rennes coach Philippe Montanier admitted his side were given a tough test by Ligue 2 Angers before coming through their semi-final showdown 3-2 to secure a trip to Paris against Brittany rivals Guingamp, where they will look to secure a first major trophy since 1971.
Left-back Armand won three Coupe de France honours between 2004 and 2010 while at Paris St Germain, and also claimed the Coupe de la Ligue not to mention the 2013 Ligue 1 crown, which he also collected back in 2001 at Nantes.
Armand, though, still feels a sense of occasion at the Stade de France.
"Even though I already had the chance to lift the trophy, it is still something extraordinary to win a title, there also excitement regarding the environment of the final because most players do not know the Stade de France," he said on the club's official website, www.staderennais.com.
"I will just advise them not to put unnecessary pressure on themselves, to play as relaxed as possible and give the best of yourself.
"It should be above all a pleasure to play this kind of meeting at the Stade de France."
Both sides have struggled for consistent Ligue 1 form this season, which has seen them battle to stay clear of the relegation scrap.
Guingamp completed the double over their Brittany rivals with a 2-0 at Rennes at the beginning of March - and also have bragging rights held over from their shock 2009 cup final victory when in Ligue 2.
Montanier maintains his team will not be feeling the weight of expectation.
"Guingamp maybe have the psychological advantage because they have beaten us twice in the league this season, but it will be an evenly matched final," he said.
"I do not think the 2009 final is present in the minds of players, because there is just Romain Danze left, so among supporters there is certainly a spirit of revenge, but not for players.
"For us it's more about focusing on a final than worrying about revenge or what happened five years or 35 years ago.
"We have nothing to lose because if we lose people will continue to say that we are a team that always loses in finals, and if we win we will have ended a wait of 43 years."
Rennes will be without defender Cheikh Mbengue because of injury, but captain Romain Danze is battling to be fit from his thigh problem.
Guingamp coach Jocelyn Gourvennec, meanwhile, claims his side are ready to pull off another shock.
"We will be the underdogs in the final - we are Guingamp, a small town and a small club, but we are fighters," Gourvennec said.
"Rennes have greater means than we do, and on paper there is no competition.
"Everyone has 2009 in mind, but there is a new page to write.
"We will have to keep emotional control, but we know what we have to do and will be professionals."