Stuttering Marseille face tricky Brest trip

PARIS - Stuttering Ligue 1 champions Olympique Marseille face a tricky trip to promoted Brest on Wednesday hoping to end a lean spell that began when they topped the standings last month.

Marseille have slipped from first to fifth after they thrashed Montpellier 4-0 three weeks ago, picking up only three points in four matches, the last one in a 1-1 home draw against Olympique Lyon on Sunday.

"We could have done better but let's be content with that," coach Didier Deschamps told the club's website.

Marseille's midfield, with Lucho Gonzalez and Mathieu Valbuena, has been showing great potential, however, their front line has been somewhat limited, with Andre-Pierre Gignac still struggling to make an impact.

"It's true that we are stalling but let's bear in mind that we do not lag too far behind," Valbuena, who netted the equaliser on Sunday, told the club's website.

Deschamps refused to panic.

"It was a good performance even if at the end of the day we only got one point and it does not make a lot in the last four rounds of matches," he said after the Lyon draw.

Keeper Steve Mandanda backed French international Gignac, who had a goal disallowed on Sunday and missed a clear chance in the dying minutes to win the game.

"'Dede' has a lot of character. He is going to score goals and he will help us win matches. I am not worried at all," he said.

The Provence side are three points behind leaders Lille, who stayed on top on 31 points at the weekend without kicking a ball as their home game against AS Nancy was postponed because of snow falls in northern France.

Lille host St Etienne on Wednesday having enjoyed more rest time than their opponents, who moved up to sixth on 28 points after beating bottom club Arles-Avignon at the weekend.

Stade Rennes, in third place level on points with Lille, travel to strugglers Caen, while second-placed Paris Saint-Germain, also on 31 points, travel to Nancy with their ticketless fans not welcome in Eastern France.

The prefect of the Meurthe-et-Moselle department issued an order forbidding tickeless PSG fans to be around the Marcel Picot stadium from 1400 to 2200 local time.

Elsewhere, Montpellier travel to Lorient in Tuesday's only Ligue 1 game.