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PSG boss Ancelotti wary of Marseille threat

Paris Saint-Germain coach Carlo Ancelotti believes Olympique Marseille still have a chance to win the league even if they trail the Ligue 1 leaders by nine points.

"I know [coach] Didier [Deschamps] very well. He has a fantastic knowledge of football and he is capable of getting his team involved in the title race," Ancelotti told French sports daily L'Equipe on Friday.

Brazilian Alex, who joined PSG from Chelsea during the January transfer window, is doubtful for Saturday with a calf problem that kept him out of training on Thursday.

Italy midfielder Thiago Motta, however, will start alongside Mathieu Bodmer and Mohamed Sissoko, coach Ancelotti said.

PSG, who have 46 points from 21 games, entertain Evian Thonon Gaillard on Saturday.

Fifth-placed Marseille expect to suffer a lot against Olympique Lyon in Sunday's clash, especially because they will have to do without the suspended Mathieu Valbuena.

"We are less and less," Cameroon defender Nicolas Nkoulou told the club's website. "It is going to be very tough."

Marseille, who have won their last eight games in all competitions, are already without Andre and Jordan Ayew, who are with Ghana at the Africa Cup of Nations, and forward Valbuena's absence is likely to be a factor as they try to stay in contact with the top three.

Second-placed Montpellier will be able to rely on influential midfielder Younes Belhanda, who is back from the Africa Cup of Nations after Morocco were eliminated, when they take on Stade Brest on Saturday.

Belhanda, however, is expected to start on the bench.

Montpellier trail leaders PSG by three points.

Turky striker Mevlut Erding is expected to start his first game with Stade Rennes since he joined from Paris Saint-Germain last month.

Rennes, who are sixth in the standings 11 points off the pace, travel to Nancy on Saturday.