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Feb 28, 2014

Valbuena targeting classique upset

Marseille midfielder Mathieu Valbuena believes his side still have the quality to deal a blow to Paris Saint-Germain's Ligue 1 title hopes ahead of the classique on Sunday.

Johnson: Smart business from PSG

Les Phoceens have endured a difficult season but have rallied in recent weeks, losing just once in nine league games under sporting director and interim manager Jose Anigo.

Marseille’s trip to the Parc des Princes is a daunting prospect but Valbuena, 29, is confident that the fifth-placed visitors can get one over their arch-rivals.

"Everyone is condemning us to a defeat, except maybe for some fans," he told Le Parisien. "We have nothing to lose and we should play this match with total confidence and an irreproachable state of mind.

"A lot of teams have come unstuck against this PSG side but we can compete with them. We have a quality squad that, in a one-off game, can demonstrate that they are up to the occasion."

League leaders PSG managed to win the reverse fixture 2-1 in October, despite having midfielder Thiago Motta sent off in the first half.

Since then the gap between the two sides has continued to grow, with Marseille left to battle it out for third spot with a clutch of other clubs.

"PSG are set up to win the Champions League this season," Valbuena said. "But I have a feeling of regret.

"Eighteen points [behind PSG] is a hell of a gap, we gave them a lot of help. We've had an average league campaign considering our objectives -- we lost too many points stupidly.

"With a lot more consistency and discipline, we could have troubled Monaco in particular."

As it stands, Monaco are the only team with a realistic chance of overhauling PSG, with Claudio Ranieri's men sitting just five points off the top in second place.

However, the Italian says he is not even sure if he will tune in on Sunday to see if Monaco's main rivals drop points.

"Maybe. If I'm free I'll watch it," Ranieri told reporters ahead of Monaco's visit to St Etienne on Saturday. "What time is it at? At 9pm on Sunday? If I'm at home, I'll watch it."

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