Marseille are determined not to be left behind when they meet Ligue 1 leaders Lille on Sunday, according to head coach Didier Deschamps.
The blockbuster clash highlights the weekend’s round of French league action, with third-placed Marseille hoping a strong performance at home will set them up for a late tilt at the title.
The defending Ligue 1 champions are just one point behind Lille on the table, with second-placed Stade Rennes separated from the league leaders on goal difference alone.
Deschamps’ men travel to Rennes the following Friday in their next league outing, and the coach has warned his players about the dangers of dropping points in such vital encounters.
“Obviously these games aren’t capital, but they can have a significant influence on the standings,” Deschamps said.
“I’m not telling you anything you don’t know already, but it’s the only chance you get to take points whilst ensuring that your competitor drops points.”
“We’ve won four games in a row which is good. We needed that because the other teams were setting a fast pace.”
“Everyone in our team knows we have to go out there to try to win, we all go for it, and that’s important.”
“At this stage of the season, with all the top clubs picking up points, it’s important not to get left behind.”
Lille led the field by five points four weeks ago, but a lean run of five points from a possible 12 has seen the club in danger of losing their grip on the table.
But defender Adil Rami said the squad are unconcerned by their recent dip in form and will approach Marseille confident of victory.
“We don’t have doubts and we don’t feel under pressure,” Rami said.
“For the moment, all I am going to say is that we are well placed with regards our ambitions.”
“We aren’t winning so often now but at the same time we’re playing games against Lyon and Marseille, the biggest teams in the league.”
“The Marseille game is vital because once that’s out of the way we will have got through the difficult run we had in February, which tired us out a bit. Then we’ll see what fate has in store.”
“We may be top today but there are other times like Rennes, Paris Saint-Germain, Marseille and Lyon who deserve to be in the top five.”
“We are not in the clear at all, everyone is playing good football, and everyone wants to win. They are all mentally strong like us, so we’ll see what happens.”