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PSG switches focus to Ligue 1, Lille

PSG hoped to compete for the Europa League as it debuted more than $100 million in transfers this season, but after an early exit, its lone focus is on a Ligue 1 title.

PSG hosts defending Ligue 1 champions Lille on Sunday, when it will try to get back to the top of the standings. PSG is level on points with Montpellier, but second on goal differential.

Manager Antoine Kombouare's side dominated domestically early this season, but in addition to a rough patch that cost the club its spot atop Ligue 1, it was also bounced from the Coupe de la Ligue by Dijon.

"We are second in the league but have been knocked out of two competitions and being eliminated is not good," PSG sporting director Leonardo said.

With only the Ligue 1 title left to compete for, Kombouare will be under a lot of pressure to get PSG to the top, and keep the club there for the rest of the season.

PSG did end Europa League play with a 4-2 win over Athletic Bilbao, but it was only enough to finish level on 10 points with second-place Red Bull Salzburg.

"It's a huge disappointment because we were good enough to get through. Now we have to keep moving forward and draw on this victory. It's a third consecutive victory," Kombouare said, "and that's the best possible way to prepare for the Lille match on Sunday.

"I'm expecting a huge reaction and a win against Lille."

Lille has proven this season it plans to be a factor in Ligue 1, as it won its first crown since 1954 last season, and currently sits third in the table on 34 points.

Undefeated on the road, one-loss Lille will overtake PSG with a win.

PSG's Guillaume Hoarau admitted the team just has to move on and switch all of its focus to Ligue 1, or even that crown will slip away. Lille, which finished at the bottom of its Champions League group, is also out of European play.

"We will always have regrets and the squad is a bit down but now our objective is to qualify for the Champions League next season," Hoarau said, "In Ligue 1, we are the joint leaders and we won't give up our position without a fight as we approach the last two matches before the winter break."

Montpellier hosts Toulouse on Saturday, when it will try to bounce back from a 1-0 loss to Valenciennes last weekend.

Marseille, which learned Friday it will play Inter Milan in the last 16 of the Champions League, hosts Lorient on Saturday, while Lyon, which learned it will play APOEL in the last 16, hosts Evian the same day.

In Saturday's other matches, Brest hosts Auxerre, Caen hosts Nancy, Nice hosts Valenciennes, and Dijon hosts St. Etienne. Also Sunday, Ajaccio hosts Rennes, and Bordeaux hosts Sochaux.