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 Posted by ESPN Staff
Oct 23, 2008

Ligue 1: Marseille coach to concentrate on league

PARIS, Oct 23 (Reuters) - Olympique Marseille, facing an early Champions League exit, will look for a measure of consolation when they welcome arch-rivals Paris St Germain to the Stade Velodrome in Ligue 1 on Sunday (2000).

The Provence side, who have not won anything since lifting the European Cup in 1993, are unlikely to survive the group stage this season after a 2-0 defeat at PSV Eindhoven left them with zero point from three matches.

"The Champions League is over for us," Marseille coach Eric Gerets, a former Eindhoven player and coach, told reporters after the game.

The Ligue 1 title, however, is still to fight for after Marseille recovered from a sluggish spell to climb to second, just one point behind seven-times champions Olympique Lyon.

"Two weeks ago, many newspapers were saying the title race was over", Gerets said. "It is not yet. We still have to improve a lot if we are to threaten Lyon but we are moving in the right direction, we score goals."

The only undefeated side nine games into the league campaign, Gerets's team have scored an average of two goals per game, which is high by French standards.

Marseille, who have not lost a Ligue 1 game at home to PSG in five years, have defence worries with centre backs Ronald Zubar and Vitorino Hilton struggling to work as a tight pair.

Lyon face exactly the same problem before they visit Auxerre on Saturday (1700). They also score and concede many goals, as they showed again in their thrilling 5-3 win at Steaua Bucharest in the Champions League on Tuesday.

The champions have conceded five goals in their last two Ligue 1 outings.

"We need to correct a few things but I only want to remember our positive achievements," Lyon coach Claude Puel told reporters after the match in Romania.

Monaco, who once enjoyed the same standing as Lyon and Marseille, have problems in defence and attack.

The side from the principality, visiting fifth-placed Toulouse on Saturday (1900), have lost their last three games, including two home defeats by Lille and Nice. They are 15th, just three points above the danger zone.

"We have entered a negative spiral, just as we did last year, and we have to break it as quickly as possible," Monaco captain Francois Modesto told reporters.

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