Deschamps desperate to pull Marseille into gear

10 April 2012 12:47

Didier Deschamps has pledged that Marseille will not coast to the end of the season, vowing to pull last year's Ligue 1 runners-up back into gear with just six games remaining.

Deschamps' side host league leaders Montpellier on Wednesday, just three days after losing 2-1 at great rivals Paris Saint-Germain, leaving them ninth in the table with just a single point from a possible 21 in their last seven games.

"It hurts," said Deschamps after the defeat, Marseille's 10th in 11 matches in all competitions, which has left them 23 points behind Montpellier.

A desperate run of form for 2010 champions Marseille means that they and Deschamps -- reportedly a summer contender for the vacant Chelsea manager's post -- could miss out on a Champions League qualification.

France's only European champions are 16 points outside the top three.

"We can't turn the clock back," added Deschamps. "We have to swallow this and think of what is ahead of us. There are six weeks left in the competition.

"Nobody wants to freewheel to the finish. We have to do everything we can to finish as best we can."

Former club president Pape Diouf has complained that "Marseille have lost their soul" and Deschamps warned his players that they have to prove they are capable of turning things around.

Marseille were bottom in mid-September after a 2-0 defeat to Lyon yet went on an unbeaten 16-match run to move up to fourth place before hitting a brick wall.

The situation now calls for desperate measures with Nancy, in 11th, just a point behind, and Lorient eight points adrift in the first relegation spot.

A good finish is also financially imperative for the cash-strapped side.

As well as missing out on next season's lucrative Champions League, an eight-million-euro ($10.5-million, £6.6-million) difference separates the team that finishes fifth and ninth.

They could also lose some of their top players such as Loic Remy and Andre Ayew, who have reportedly been targeted by English Premier League sides Tottenham and their north London rivals Arsenal.

For Deschamps there is only one chance left not to finish the season empty-handed -- Saturday's League Cup final against Lyon, when they will bid for their third straight title.

"The players are professionals. We now have a final against Lyon to prepare," added the former World Cup-winner.

Source: AFP