Marseille remain focused on title
© AFP

The top priority of French league leaders Marseille is remaining on course to claim domestic honours, according to club owner Robert Louis-Dreyfus. Incumbent coach Eric Gerets dropped a bombshell on Tuesday when he informed his players he would be quitting the club at the end of the season.

The Belgian coach - whose contract terminates at the end of June - has been at the club since September 2007 and has turned them into title contenders after years of failing to challenge seven-time champions Lyon.

Gerets, who turns 55 in May, said he felt he had no option but to quit since Louis-Dreyfus had criticised him in an interview with L'Equipe in January. Louis-Dreyfus, the largest shareholder in the Mediterranean club, released a statement on Wednesday saying: "More than ever we must remain focused on winning the league title, which is our number one priority.

"We have confidence in the management team, (president) Pape Diouf and Eric Gerets, to manage this challenge which is so important for the club, the city of Marseille and the millions of Marseille fans.

"We are also happy to see that all the management team have expressed the same sentiment. As for statements made over recent days, it's not the time to comment on them but they will be cleared up once the season comes to an end."

With just five games of the season remaining, Marseille - who won the last of their eight titles in 1992 - sit atop Ligue 1 on 67 points, five points ahead of Bordeaux who have a game in hand.

Bordeaux could reduce that lead to two should they beat Rennes on Wednesday, while perrenial champions Lyon sit in third on 61 points, six off Marseille.