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Tootle's 'slug' goal celebration

The Toe Poke
By ESPN Staff

Debuchy plays down Rami remarks

Lille midfielder Mathieu Debuchy has played down Adil Rami's rant following last weekend's defeat at Monaco and claimed the squad are unified as they look to take another step towards the Ligue 1 title against Bordeaux on Saturday night.

Rami returned from injury for the clash in the principality but committed the mistake which gifted the home side a 1-0 win, after which he accused his team-mates of "lacking heart".

Debuchy has played down the controversy and insisted there was no long-term damage which would hold back a Lille side three points clear with eight games remaining.

He told "It hasn't left a scar - we have a squad in which everyone gets along. Adil is like that, there are things that come out of his mouth which he regrets soon after.

"Nobody has held it against him. He apologised after the game and it was gone.''

The loss in Monaco was a significant setback for Lille but Debuchy was quick to shoot down the critics.

"We lost one game and people are saying we are going down to Ligue 2," he added. "We do our job, we try to win and if people criticise us it is not our concern. We have had a very good season."

Lille's closest challengers are Marseille. The defending champions visit Montpellier on Sunday in what is the first of two clashes with their south coast rivals in six days as they also meet in the final of the Coupe de la Ligue next Saturday.

OM boss Didier Deschamps said: "The Ligue 1 game is not decisive as there won't be a title at stake, there will simply be a winner and a loser, but both games are important to us."

Lyon, who go to Paris St Germain in the Sunday evening game, are up to third but question marks still surround the future of coach Claude Puel.

Reports in France suggest OL president Jean-Michel Aulas is lining up a move for Auxerre boss Jean Fernandez after admitting he had made a mistake in handing Puel a four-year deal.

He told Canal+: "Maybe we didn't make the best decision the day we handed him a four-year contract, but we all agreed to do it. We have to respect the contract. However, Puel has said himself that he may decide to walk away before the end."

Fourth-placed Rennes' challenge faltered at Brest last weekend and they will be keen to hit back at home to Lorient, while St Etienne host Nancy and Sochaux meet Caen.

Caen are one place above the drop zone and could take a significant step towards safety with three points at the Stade Bonal.

Rock-bottom Arles are all but down - their relegation will be confirmed if they fail to beat Valenciennes or if other results go against them - but the teams second and third bottom, Lens and Auxerre, can still escape.

Lens face the biggest challenge as they are seven points adrift of safety and will view Saturday's home clash with Brest as a must-win.

Auxerre are just a point behind Caen, Monaco and Valenciennes. They go to Toulouse, and Monaco visit Nice.


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