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‘We will have to have a very high level of play’- Galtier previews Marseille-PSG Ligue 1 clash

Paris Saint-Germain will lock horns with arch-rivals Marseille in Ligue 1 Classique at Velodrome on Sunday.

Les Parisiens have suffered a massive decline since the restart of the league after the World Cup, losing five and drawing one in 13 games across all competitions.

These struggles have impacted their Ligue 1 position as they are only five points clear at the top despite leading the table by a landslide before the World Cup break.

Marseille are second in the standings, and a victory would help them reduce the points gap on their arch-rivals.

The two will meet each other for the second time this month after PSG fell short in the previous encounter at the French Cup.

PSG manager Christophe Galtier has ruled out Sunday’s game as a title decider but claimed that his side aren’t favourites either.

“It’s an important game – the two teams are very close in the league table,” Galtier told the press.

“More than the game, and the Coupe de France match we lost a few weeks back, it’s an important game, but I don’t think the title will be decided on Sunday.

“There’s a lot of games to go, but a Paris Saint-Germain victory would be welcome. To be favourites, we would have needed to be in a different dynamic.

“There are reasons to be optimistic from our recent games, but we have to do it over the 90 minutes. We’ll have to have a very high level of play. They’ll be pushed on by their fans. We’ll have to raise our game and be better than we have been in recent weeks.”

By contrast, Marseille have been in a great run of form post the World Cup, losing only one game across all competitions.

They head into the game on the back of an impressive victory over Toulouse. The previous Classique went in favour of Igor Tudor’s men, who defeated PSG 2-1, with Ruslan Malinovskyi scoring a superb winning goal.

PSG missed their talisman Kylian Mbappe as Lionel Messi and Neymar failed to deliver the goods.

Both the South American stars are in their 30s, and their lack of pace and pressing allowed Marseille to stifle them.

Mbappe’s pace and finishing skills add a different dynamism to the attack, and Galtier believes that PSG have the advantage with the French World Cup finalist around.

Galtier added: “We’ll have to win our challenges, play through the pressing and play more often in behind them, which was something lacking in the Coupe game.

“We’re going to have that possibility with Kylian, but we’ll have to find other solutions with other players. We’ll also have to have more determination to be better in Marseille.”

PSG produced a brilliant turnaround against Lille last week, with Messi netting the winner through a free-kick in injury time.

Neymar will miss Sunday’s game through injury, and Achraf Hakimi is in contention to feature for the Ligue 1 champions after returning to collective training.

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