Deschamps: Title defence looking tough
Marseille manager Didier Deschamps admits his side's chances of successfully defending their Ligue 1 title have been severely dented after last night's 3-2 defeat at Lyon left them four points behind leaders Lille with four games to go.
Central defender Cris grabbed the winner for Lyon six minutes from time after the visitors had cancelled out a two-goal deficit at the Stade Gerland. A Lisandro Lopez penalty and a Cesar Delgado strike put the hosts in control with Lucho Gonzalez and Loic Remy replying before Brazilian Cris' late intervention settled it.
The defeat follows last week's disappointing draw against Auxerre to leave OM with a four-point gap to make up on Lille. While the result is a severe blow for Deschamps' team, it moves Lyon to within three points of Marseille and revives their hopes of a top-two spot and direct qualification for next season's UEFA Champions League.
While Deschamps has no illusions as to the magnitude of the task facing his side, he is refusing to give up while it is still possible to claim the title. He said: "We've just taken one point from two matches, and that doesn't make things any easier for us.
"There are still 12 points to play for, so it is still possible. But it is tougher than it was a week ago. I still believe in our chances and, as long as it is possible, we will give it a real go.
"The dressing room is disappointed but when you concede three goals it is because you have made mistakes. Getting back to 2-2 we could have thought we'd done the hard part. We play Brest on Wednesday and they will have enjoyed an additional day's rest compared to us."
Opposite number Claude Puel insisted last night's opponents were still favourites to claim at least second place. He said: "The OM are still three points ahead. And you know they are a team that are capable of responding when they are struggling a bit or after a bad result. For us to fulfil our goals, we have to start by taking all three points at Auxerre, which will not be easy. "
Of the game, Puel added: "Lyon-Marseille games are often full of drama and turning points. We're not going to complain that this one fell in our favour. We showed a bit of everything, pride and some good football in certain moves.
"I don't think we've deprived Marseille of the title. I thought we were strong under pressure, even if we should have tried to avoid conceding for at least five minutes after going 2-0 up. We let them back into the match and their equaliser was a blow to the head, but my players were enormous."
Puel though could be without Lopez for the rest of the season after he was forced off. "He hurt his hamstring and will undergo tests. We're crossing our fingers, but we are concerned with the manner he was forced off," said Puel.