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Garde not giving up on title hopes

Lyon coach Remi Garde says the Ligue 1 title is far from over despite his side’s 1-0 loss to PSG on Sunday.

Carlo Ancelotti’s big-spending Paris outfit went ahead with Blaise Matuidi’s strike on half-time and now sit top of Ligue 1 from Lyon on goal difference.

Garde was not impressed with his side’s performance at the Parc des Princes but said there was still plenty chances to regain top spot this season.

“The title is never decided in the first half of the season, it is not definitive,” Garde said.

“It is true that we held a small lead and it is disappointing to lose it but despite that if we manage to finish the first half of the championship in the top three, we are in a good position for a title challenge.

“The second half of the championship is the more important half and it is going to be a good fight.

“Coming here, to the Parc des Princes was a challenge for us and we are frustrated to leave the place without a point.

“We have a lot of regrets with how we played in the first half. We would have liked, and certainly deserved to score the good opportunity with Lisandro’s strike which hit the post.

“Instead of leading at the break, we came back to the locker room 1-0 down with the goal just before half-time. This was difficult for us.

“So of course, because of that, I have regrets. In the second half we struggled to create a lot of chances and rarely troubled the PSG goalkeeper.”

Ancelotti, meanwhile, was thrilled with his team’s effort to bounce back from a poor run of form.

The Italian criticised his squad following a surprise loss in Nice, but he has been encouraged by the response they have offered since.

“Football is strange,” he said. “In difficult moments, you have to show your solidity.

“The players did very well – things have changed. At the moment, we have a good balance because the attackers do some good work at the back.

“The first half was difficult because Lyon changed their system, but, defensively, the second half was perfect.

“Lyon showed their quality, they’re a solid team with plenty of character.”

Ancelotti went on to say that he had no plans to make any further January signings, adding: “We do not need to recruit.”

PSG midfielder Matuidi was delighted to score the winner and said the team’s success revolved around their team-first ethos.

“Yes, tonight we are very happy with this win. It was not an easy match against a very good team of Lyon,” Matuidi said.

“I had the opportunity to score the first goal right at the end of the half and I took it.

“After recent results we all came to the realisation that we had to change. I think each of us questioned their performance and we see that today everybody is making the effort for each other.

“That’s why even in the difficult moments we don’t concede goals. Right now we are united as a group of players and this has to continue for us to succeed.”

Mon 17 December, 2012
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