PSG turns page to 'Clasico' against Marseille

PSG manager Antoine Kombouare was careful after last week's surprise defeat to Nancy, admitting that he wanted to "avoid saying things in the heat of the moment that you'll regret later."

"I didn't say a lot to my players, I avoided that," Kombouare said after a 1-0 loss ended the Paris club's 12-game Ligue 1 undefeated run and let Montpellier pull level on points atop the standings.

Kombouare did quickly turn the page, though, and focus on a crucial visit this weekend to Marseille for the "Clasico."

"This was not the best way," he said, "to prepare for the trip to Marseille."

Although Marseille has struggled this season in France, the club is primed for a knockout berth in the Champions League, and won three straight Ligue 1 games prior to last weekend's loss to Montpellier.

Marseille followed that setback with a 1-0 loss to Olympiacos in the Champions League, but can clinch advancement with a win over Borussia Dortmund on Dec. 6 in Germany.

But after a slow start in France, Marseille cannot afford to overlook games in Ligue 1, and especially not against favorites PSG.

And especially not after PSG suffered just its second Ligue 1 loss.

Nancy manager Jason Fernandez knew his squad was fortunate to escape the Parc des Princes with three points.

"PSG have huge potential and they wouldn't have expected to lose this game. They've got the quality to become champions," Fernandez said.

Kombouare admitted he was disappointed with the result, but only because a tie would have been the proper final. He will hope to get prize offseason addition Javier Pastore back on track, as he has struggled recently.

"In general, the big matches suit me rather well," Pastore told L'Equipe.

Marseille hopes he waits another week, as it is already 12 points off the pace after 14 games, and in danger of dropping out of the title race less than half way through the season.

Montpellier visits Sochaux on Saturday with an opportunity to move into first, at least for a day. Montpellier has won four of its last five during a current six-game unbeaten streak.

After last week's 1-0 victory over Marseille, Montpellier manager Rene Girard admitted the win was " fabulous."

"We know that it's not a fluke, we went out to get all three points," he said. "We have to enjoy it, and keep on like that."

Sochaux sits on 17 points from 14 games, but has dropped points in four of its seven home fixtures. It will be without Polish defender Damien Perquis, who is out at least until the New Year after hernia surgery this week.

Third-place Lille now has the longest unbeaten streak in Ligue 1, and will put its 12-game run on the line against Brest on Saturday. Although Brest has just two wins, it has also lost just three times.

Also Saturday, Bordeaux hosts Caen, Nancy hosts Dijon, Rennes hosts Evian, St. Etienne hosts Ajaccio, and Toulouse hosts Valenciennes. Also Sunday, Auxerre hosts Lyon and Lorient hosts Nice.