Ligue 1 preview: Monaco running out of time to catch leaders Paris St Germain
Last Updated: 28/03/14 4:32pm
Monaco could be 13 points adrift of the pace in Ligue 1 when they kick off against Evian on Saturday, with runaway league leader Paris St Germain in action on Friday night.
Claudio Ranieri's Monaco must slowly be coming to accept that the league crown is beyond them this season, with PSG - who travel to Nice on Friday - enjoying a formidable advantage at the summit with just eight games left.
Monaco could yet add silverware to a likely second-placed league finish, however, after booking their place in the semi-finals of the Coupe de France in midweek after a 6-0 victory over Lens.
Certainly that is the target for striker Emmanuel Riviere, who hinted on Friday that the principality side are now looking only to consolidate second place - with nine points separating them from third-placed Lille.
"The Coupe de France is a goal, we fulfilled our mission against Lens, but now we must think to hold our position in the league where nothing is done," he told a press conference.
"I expect on Saturday, with Evian playing for its survival, it will be hard."
Also on Saturday, sixth-placed Marseille will look to arrest their alarming recent slump when they travel to second-bottom Sochaux.
Last weekend's 1-0 home loss to Rennes was OM's third defeat in a four-game winless streak that has dropped them out of the race for the Champions League. They may yet miss out on Europe completely with a top-four finish also looking increasingly out of reach.
"My feeling is that everything isn't being done for things to go well. On the pitch, we're not up to standard," OM defender Rod Fanni said ahead of the 112th top-flight clash between Marseille and Sochaux - making it the most-played fixture in Ligue 1 history.
"Without going into the qualities of each individual, we have to be at our best all the time. We have to be able to look ourselves in the eye and say to ourselves that we have given everything. That's why I've gone off the pitch sometimes annoyed.
"Some are moving themselves and trying to do their best and others do that less."
Elsewhere on Saturday, bottom side Ajaccio host Toulouse, Montpellier welcome third-bottom Valenciennes, Nantes entertain Bordeaux and Lorient travel to Reims.
Lille welcome Guingamp in one of three Sunday games, with coach Rene Girard demanding his side bounce back from their midweek Coupe de France elimination.
Girard's men were beaten 2-0 at Rennes in their quarter-final and Girard expressed his disappointment that his side's last chance of silverware this season had disappeared.
Girard told the club's official website: "We woke up quarter of an hour late and we left too much to do, and that is a recurring problem for us.
"We had the chance to reach the semi-finals of the Coupe de France but we have to digest the disappointment and turn back to the championship."
Lille's cup pain will be more keenly felt when they come up against a Guingamp side who are safely through to the last four of the competition after victory over AS Cannes in the week.
Guingamp will face Monaco in next month's semi-finals, while Rennes - who entertain Bastia in the league this weekend - will face Ligue 2 Angers in the other last-four tie.
The weekend action concludes on Sunday night with battle between fourth and fifth, as St Etienne travel to Lyon in a Rhone derby that could have a big impact on the race for European qualification.