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Baup hopeful of Champions League

Marseille coach Elie Baup is hopeful his side can clinch a top-three finish in Ligue 1 and qualify for next season’s Champions League.

Baup’s men travel to Nice on Sunday, sitting third and two points clear of Saint-Etienne with the title appearing to be heading to Paris Saint-Germain.

With nine matches remaining this season, Baup said his side still had work to do if they were to secure automatic qualification into Europe’s elite club competition next campaign.

“I always said we have to be there with five games remaining. So far it’s good but we are not yet in the final sprint,” he said.

“Last week we were lucky because the other teams lost some points like we did against Ajaccio, but it won’t always be like that.

“We just have to count on ourselves. We have been in the top three all the season, so hopefully we won’t fall down in the last few games.”

Nice have lost two of their past three encounters but still sit fifth in the league and have hope of qualifying for Europe.

Baup is wary of Claude Puel’s men and praised the French coach for the impact he has had since taking over in May last year.

“I’m surprised (by Nice). Obviously they’re on a good run. After 29 games they have 20 points more than last year in the same period, it means a lot how this team has improved,” he said.

“Claude Puel is playing a big role in this evolution for sure, but the whole club is moving.

“They have a brilliant young generation of players listening to their coach – that explains their good results.”

Sat 30 Mar, 2013
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