Ligue 1: Hubert Fournier believes the pressure will be off Reims when they face PSG
Reims coach Hubert Fournier believes the pressure will be off his struggling team when they face PSG this weekend.
Last Updated: 01/03/13 10:33am
Fournier's men - currently 17th in the table, a point above the relegation zone - on Saturday host a PSG outfit who have won nine of their last 11 league games, have the division's top-scorer in Zlatan Ibrahimovic leading the line for them and earlier this week handed a full debut to David Beckham.
It would appear to be the last thing Reims need right now, but Fournier is looking forward to what he has described as an "exhibition match" for his players, where any weight of expectation will be on the opposition.
"This is a particular kind of match, but we do not have a lot of pressure on us because everyone expects us to lose," Fournier said.
"We are facing the best French team, and we just have to approach this match with desire and with pleasure.
"We must give ourselves the means to disrupt them as Sochaux did (when they beat PSG 3-2 at home on February 17). But this game is easy to prepare for because all our players want to be involved.
"It is an exhibition match, which must be approached with the desire to rise to the occasion."
Three points behind PSG in second place are Lyon, who are at Brest on Sunday.
After being knocked out of the Europa League by Tottenham, OL last week registered their first home win of 2013 by coming from behind to defeat Lorient 3-1 in the league.
Midfielder Arnold Mvuemba netted Lyon's third in that game against his former club and viewed the way the contest went as an encouraging sign.
"After our elimination from the Europa League, there was much disappointment," Mvuemba said. "But against Lorient we were able to respond, even after they had a very good first half.
"We need to keep making good results in the championship and then we will see where we are at the end."
Third-placed Marseille, beaten in both the league and Coupe de France by arch-rivals PSG over the past few days, also play on Sunday, at home against second-bottom Troyes.
OM coach Elie Baup is determined to keep looking forward after the two "Classique" losses, saying: "We have a great challenge ahead of us now - we must defend third place on Sunday against Troyes and in the remaining 11 games after that. We will focus our resources and efforts on this goal."
The two teams just behind Marseille face each other on Saturday, with fifth-placed St Etienne entertaining fourth-placed Nice.
Montpellier in sixth get the weekend's Ligue 1 action under way with a home clash against Rennes, who are seventh, on Friday night.
Saturday's other games see Valenciennes make the trip to Lorient, rock-bottom Nancy travel to Sochaux, Ajaccio visit Bastia and 18th-placed Evian play away against Toulouse.
Lille and Bordeaux then go head-to-head at the Grand Stade Metropole in Sunday's other fixture.