PSG looks for 5th straight league win vs. Ajaccio

JEROME PUGMIRE AP Sports Writer Published:

PARIS (AP) -- As French leader Paris Saint-Germain resumes its title quest following the winter break looking for a fifth straight league win, right back Christophe Jallet reminds his teammates to remember the painful lesson of last season.

PSG was three points clear after last season's break, but lost the title by the same margin to Montpellier in a stunning collapse.

"It would be a shame to fall apart twice in a row. Last season we had a long barren spell which cost us points," Jallet said ahead of Friday's home game against Ajaccio. "We must keep the title in mind and keep telling ourselves not to take anything for granted.

"Let's start by playing well, picking up points, and then we will do the sums. We have all the cards in hand to go and get the title."

PSG, which has not conceded a league goal since losing to Nice on Dec. 1, leads Lyon and Marseille on goal difference.

Lyon is at Troyes on Saturday and Marseille visits Sochaux on Sunday.

PSG's strong home record seems unlikely to be threatened by Ajaccio, which has won only one of its past seven league games and is languishing in 16th place as new coach Albert Emon hopes to turn things around after replacing Alex Dupont.

Although PSG let in three sloppy goals last weekend when it beat non-league side Arras 4-3 in the French Cup, Emon expects a far more steely approach from Carlo Ancelotti's team this time.

"We have to prepare to face PSG both physically and mentally," Emon said. "Turning up with a highly defensive formation won't necessarily stop us conceding goals. Playing at home in the league means they won't be as slack as they were against Arras."

Ajaccio has conceded 10 goals in the past four games and that will make PSG top-scorer Zlatan Ibrahimovic confident of adding to his league-leading tally of 18 goals. Ajaccio's top scorer is veteran Romania forward Adrian Mutu, who has four.

The 34-year-old Mutu was Ibrahimovic's roommate when they were at Juventus seven years ago. Upon joining Ajaccio he bragged -- somewhat jokingly -- that he would score more goals than Ibrahimovic this season.

Even though that seems like an impossible task for Mutu, Emon hopes he can surpass Ibrahimovic for one match.

"He has a huge amount of experience, he's very mature and has a lot of ability," Emon said. "Of course we're counting on him."

Ancelotti will give Lucas Moura his debut after he joined from Sao Paulo for a fee in excess of €40 million ($52.4 million) -- the third player in PSG's costly squad costing €40 million or more.

"You can see the exceptional qualities he has every day in training. He's very quick, very skillful, he's got a great shot and he's very good in front of goal," Jallet said. "It's a bonus for us and the better equipped we are, the more chance we have of winning the title."

Lyon, meanwhile, needs to bounce back from its surprise loss to Epinal in the French Cup.

"We don't have a choice, we have to keep looking ahead," Lyon striker Bafetimbi Gomis said. "I'm feeling positive because we still have quite a lot to play for in the second half of the season."

Marseille will be confident of notching a fourth straight away win on Sunday as Sochaux is mired in the relegation zone.

Winger Andre Ayew could feature in the squad after being excluded from Ghana's African Cup of Nations squad by coach Kwesi Appiah on Monday for not reporting to a training camp to have a minor injury assessed.

In Friday's other matches, Saint-Etienne looks to put an end to a terrible run of form which has seen it fail to win -- or even score a goal -- in its past five league games. At least last Sunday's 3-2 win away to Caen in the French Cup meant it found the net again.

In Saturday's other games, it is: Evian vs. Brest; Montpellier vs. Lorient; Nancy vs. Lille, and Rennes vs. Bordeaux.

Reims takes on Bastia and Nice faces Valenciennes in Sunday's other matches.