Marseille coach Elie Baup says the Ligue 1 winter break could be crucial for his side as they push for the league title.
Marseille defeated Saint-Etienne 1-0 on Sunday and sit third, trailing leaders Paris Saint-Germain and second-placed Lyon on goal difference alone.
While Baup remains keen to downplay the club’s title ambitions publicly and is focusing on securing European football for next season, the 57-year-old Frenchman has hinted that he has bigger goals.
Ligue 1 will take a three-week break over the Christmas and New Year period and Baup believes it could be good for his players to recharge their batteries.
“We need to return after the fixture break fresh,” Baup said after the win over Saint-Etienne.
“The initial objective of the club is to finish in the top five and we must achieve that.
“This is far from secure and we will do everything to complete that objective.
“The club is very ambitious but that initial goal is not yet reached.”
PSG, Lyon and Marseille are all on 38 points and with the latter having re-established their home form, they are set to challenge for the title throughout the second half of the season.
Marseille suffered heavy defeats to Lyon and Lorient at the Stade Velodrome before knocking off Saint-Etienne in front of their home fans.
Having lost just one game at home this season in all competitions before that, Baup knows how important it was to get Marseille’s fans behind his team so they can turn Stade Velodrome into a fortress again.
“We wanted to get the win and secure three points,” Baup said.
“It was not easy; it’s been a while since we last won at home.
“The stadium was full, there was a great atmosphere, we had to give everything to all of our supporters who were still hurt by our heavy defeats against Lyon and Lorient.
“There was therefore a strong performance from the whole group.”
Marseille’s next game will be a Coupe de France tie against Ligue 2 side Guingamp on January 6 before they travel to Sochaux a week later for a Ligue 1 fixture.