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Feb 9, 2014

Zlatan Ibrahimovic OK with draw

Paris Saint-Germain striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic says a draw at Monaco is an acceptable result -- despite the fact that the defending French champions were pegged back late on.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic says a draw with Monaco is OK because 'they needed to win more than us.' 

Rodden: A budding rivalry

Javier Pastore's early header had looked like it was going to be enough for PSG to stretch their lead at the top of Ligue 1 to eight points.

Second-placed Monaco equalised with 14 minutes remaining, however, when visiting captain Thiago Silva turned Fabinho's cross into his own net.

Ibrahimovic, 32, had a late chance from point-blank range to snatch all three points, only to see Monaco goalkeeper Danijel Subasic produce a sharp save.

A win for the visitors could have dealt a fatal blow to Monaco's title chances but the league's top scorer was not too disappointed.

"It was OK," Ibrahimovic said. "We didn't win but I think Monaco needed to win more than us and we are still five points in front.

"One point for us, one point for them. But I think they needed to win more than us."

PSG will be content with their week's work, with Ibrahimovic scoring twice against Nantes as they reached the Coupe de la Ligue final in midweek.

Laurent Blanc's side are still involved in the Champions League as well and Monaco will be hoping that PSG's extra workload will see them drop points in the league.

Ibrahimovic is wary of that too, pointing out that it is the games that PSG are expected to win that should make them wary.

"It's a lot of games still," the Swedish international said. "We try to collect as many points as possible to win the championship but I think Monaco will be there and make it difficult for us."

Jeremy Toulalan believes that Monaco have proved that there is little difference between his team and the French league leaders.

Toulalan, 30, has been one of Monaco's best performers this season and the defensive midfielder helped them earn a point on his return from suspension.

He found it tough going in the first half on Sunday as the visitors made the most of an extra man in midfield. But Monaco manager Claudio Ranieri changed the principality club's system at half-time - sending on former Sevilla midfielder Geoffrey Kondogbia to offer Toulalan support in the engine room.

Toulalan, who joined from Malaga this summer, feels that Monaco demonstrated that they are not too far behind PSG in their development.

"That's why we drew," he said. "In the second half I didn't have the impression that there was that big a gap [between the sides]. They're maybe a little bit tougher than us but we were able to stay united.

"We always get by thanks to the team. They have maybe a bit more individual quality, capable of making the difference at any moment... we have to depend a little bit more on the collective."

The former Lyon midfielder echoed his manager by repeating that Monaco's main aim is to finish second and qualify for next season's Champions League. But he admitted that he is still harbouring hopes of bridging a five-point gap and claiming the Ligue 1 title.

"You have to be honest. The minimum is to finish second but as things go along if we can win matches, with all the competitions they're in, we'll try to gain points on them. But I think we all have to concentrate on second place for the moment."

If Monaco are to take advantage of any slip ups due to PSG's continued involvement in the Champions League and the French League Cup, Toulalan knows they cannot afford to drop easy points themselves.

He highlighted two matches where they have already done that this season - when they threw away a two-goal lead at second bottom Sochaux in October, and lost 2-1 at home to third bottom Valenciennes before Christmas.

"You don't win a championship or you don't show you're too far from PSG in one match. I think you do that over the course of the championship.

"There are glamour matches like this evening but we can regret the matches against Sochaux or against Valenciennes, here, where we lost.

We have a lot of respect for those teams but they're points that we shouldn't lose."

The ex-French international also feels that new signing Dimitar Berbatov can help Monaco keep the pressure on PSG.

Berbatov came on in the 63rd minute against the defending champions and Toulalan is confident the former Fulham, Manchester United and Tottenham striker will play more of a role when he adapts to the French game.

"He did well when he came on," Toulalan said. "I think he'll do us good. His technical quality is above the average and to keep the ball, that's a good thing. They're his qualities and we'll have to make the most of them."

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