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May 4, 2013

Ancelotti happy to wait for title

Carlo Ancelotti declared Paris Saint-Germain will still end the season as French champions despite Marseille pooping the Ligue 1 leaders' planned party at the Parc des Princes this weekend.

• Blog: Champagne on ice
• Ligue 1: OM see off Bastia

Andre-Pierre Gignac's 82nd-minute goal gave Marseille a 2-1 win against Bastia, ensuring PSG can now not clinch a long-awaited French title when they host Valenciennes on Sunday evening.

However, should Ancelotti's men triumph against the northerners, they would be nine points clear of OM with three games left and their vastly superior goal difference would make them champions all but mathematically.

"We're going to win the title. It doesn't matter what happened at Marseille," Ancelotti, 53, told a press conference minutes after OM's win. "We have to respect them. They're a good side. But it's very important for us to win, play good football, and to finish this season quickly, because it's been tough. We need and deserve to finish quick and to win."

A first French crown since 1994 could now be clinched with victory at Lyon on May 12. Ancelotti acknowledged his team, who also reached the quarter-finals of the Champions League, the Coupe de France and the Coupe de la Ligue, were flagging coming down the final straight.

"Mentally it's been a difficult season. We have to keep our focus for another four weeks. It's been a long season, and we've played a lot of games with a lot of pressure. Perhaps the team is a little tired mentally," the former Chelsea coach explained, though added he would not ease up on his squad even after they are crowned champions.

"The championship is not finished. We're going to play our best in every game even if we win the title. We have to respect every team. We have important games against Lyon, Brest and Lorient. If we win the title, we won't stop playing."

With Lucas out injured, Clement Chantome will cover for the Brazilian against Valenciennes while the suspended quartet of David Beckham, Salvatore Sirigu, Marco Verratti and Thiago Motta mean Ancelotti will have to dig deep into his impressive resources.

Despite the club's Qatari owners having done the same over the last two summers to build a formidable squad, Ancelotti believes the upcoming transfer window, during which he himself is widely expected to leave PSG for Real Madrid, will be much quieter.

"The majority of the work has been done this season," he added. "The team has changed a lot in the last two years. I don't think we need to change a lot more. We have to look at the players who haven't played a lot, who aren't happy to have another season without playing a lot, but the spine of the team is done."

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