Ligue 1 weekend preview

Thursday 22nd November 2012 16:00

Carlo Ancelotti: Pleased with Champions League progress

Carlo Ancelotti: Pleased with Champions League progress

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Paris Saint-Germain coach Carlo Ancelotti hopes his side's progression to the last 16 of the Champions League can be the spur they need to improve their form in Ligue 1.

A brace by Ezequiel Lavezzi secured PSG a 2-0 victory over Dynamo Kiev which ensures the capital club of a place in the knockout round with a game to spare.

After the euphoria of that result, attention must now switch to matters domestic, with lowly Troyes lying in wait on Saturday for a PSG side bidding to halt a damaging three-match winless run.

That sequence, bookended by 2-1 defeats to both St Etienne and Rennes, has seen Ancelotti's men drop two points behind leaders Lyon, and the Italian believes his players must take heart from their European displays.

"It was a good game, and it was important for us," said Ancelotti.

"Of course we cannot forget our performances against St Etienne and Rennes, but we had a good game and showed a great attitude.

"The reaction of the group has been good and it will continue like this against Troyes on Saturday."

Fourth-placed Marseille are level on points with PSG and face a Lille side on Sunday night buoyed by their 2-0 victory over BATE Borisov in the Champions League last night.

The win was not enough for Lille to survive in the Champions League, although coach Rudi Garcia insisted the result was the "best possible preparation for our match against Marseille" as they bid to improve on their current eighth place in the standings, five points off the summit.

Marseille are looking to return to form after a 1-0 loss to Bordeaux last weekend left them nursing an unwanted run of just one win in six in the league.

OM have reason for optimism ahead of the match, however, with their ranks set to be boosted by the return of Joey Barton from a 12-match domestic suspension which has delayed his Ligue 1 bow.

The former Newcastle, QPR and Manchester City midfielder has so far only been able to represent his new club on the European stage, and captain Steve Mandanda believes the controversial Englishman can be a positive influence on the team.

"Joey will do us a lot of good, just as he has done when he's had the opportunity to play," Mandanda said.

"He's a very good footballer."

Sunday's action also sees leaders Lyon travel to Toulouse looking to extend their unbeaten run to six matches, while second-placed Bordeaux hit the road to face reigning champions Montpellier, whose Champions League involvement was ended by Arsenal in midweek.

Saturday's action sees bottom side Nancy bidding for only their second win of the season as they play host to Ajaccio, while third-bottom Evian travel to Rennes.

Brest are the visitors to Reims, Bastia welcome Lorient and Sochaux entertain Nice.

The weekend action kicks off on Friday night when Saint-Etienne welcome Valenciennes.

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