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Ligue 1 Preview: Marseille hopeful of top-three finish

Marcelo Bielsa insists Marseille will fight for every point, with their hopes of finishing in Ligue 1’s top three slowly fading away.

Back-to-back defeats to Bordeaux and reigning champions Paris Saint-Germain have seen Marseille fall outside the UEFA Champions League qualification spots, one point adrift of Monaco in fourth position heading into Friday’s round 33 fixture at Nantes.

A week after twice surrendering a lead at home to PSG in a 3-2 loss, Marseille went down to Bordeaux via Cedric Yambere’s 61st-minute goal on Sunday.

Marseille are now battling it out in the UEFA Europa League places for the first time since week five but Bielsa has not given up hope of leading the nine-time French champions to Europe’s premier competition heading into Friday’s clash at Stade de la Beaujoire-Louis Fonteneau.

“We are in an uncomfortable situation, but we hope that the position in the standings will be consistent with what the team deserves,” Bielsa said.

“We will fight for every point in every game to enjoy every option we have.

“Obviously we do not expect this fall but I think and I hope that we will change all that in the end of the Championship.

“Especially from my point of view, the way to play the team allows to characterise its real possibilities. Losing is always synonymous with pain especially when we could have avoided it and it’s part of our job to raise us from those bad times.”

League leaders PSG are in action on Saturday, with Laurent Blanc’s side travelling to Nice.

PSG’s trip to the south-east coast of France comes after Wednesday’s Champions League quarter-final showdown with Barcelona.

The Ligue 1 champions, who have a game in hand, are one point clear of Lyon at the summit.

Lyon host fifth-placed Saint-Etienne on Sunday, four days after entertaining Coupe de la Ligue finalists Bastia.

Monaco return to the Stade Louis II for Saturday’s meeting with Rennes after suffering a narrow 1-0 first-leg loss to Juventus in the Champions League midweek.

Elsewhere over the weekend, Bastia, Guingamp, Lorient and Metz are all at home on Saturday.

Bastia welcome relegation-threatened Reims to Stade Armand Cesari, Guingamp host Evian TG, Lorient entertain third-bottom Toulouse and second-bottom Metz tackle cellar-dwelling Lens.

On Sunday, in-form Lille go head-to-head with Bordeaux, while Caen travel to Montpellier.

Thu 16 Apr, 2015
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