Brief news from Ligue 1 ahead of
this weekend's matches:
Paris Saint-Germain playmaker Javier Pastore says he deserved
the criticism he has faced in recent months after some below-par
"I had ups and downs; it was normal to be criticised,"
Pastore, who joined from Palermo last year for a French record
fee of 42 million euros, told a news conference
"It's very hard to be at your highest level throughout the
season. Even Leo Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo sometimes faced
criticism. But now I feel good both physically and mentally, and
I'm ready to fight for the title."
Second-placed PSG travel to third-ranked Lille on Sunday and will need Pastore to be at his best as they enter the
final five games trailing leaders Montpellier by two points.
Lille forward Eden Hazard is recovering from a calf injury
but is still doubtful for their clash with PSG.
The in-form Belgian, who has scored seven goals and set up
six more in his last seven league games, is attending a special
training programme, the club said on their website.
Defending champions Lille, who are five points behind Paris,
will be without suspended defender Franck Beria and midfielder
Stade Rennes striker Mevlut Erding will be out for the
rest of the season after tearing a ligament in his right knee
during practice on Wednesday, the club said on their website.
Fifth-placed Rennes, who have won their last three games,
host Ajaccio on Sunday.
They are on 54 points, two behind Olympique Lyon who occupy
the Europa League qualifying berth and face third-tier Quevilly
in the French Cup final on Saturday.
Relegation-threatened Stade Brest chairman Michel Guyot
has defended his decision to sack coach Alex Dupont with five
games to go.
"It may have been surprising but I took my time to assess
the decision... every week, we were losing a drop of blood and
we would have run out of blood completely in the end," Guyot
told a news conference.
Relegation-threatened Brest, who are on 33 points, one point
from safety, travel to bottom side Auxerre, who have 28, on
Auxerre's players were taken to a poultry factory in
search of inspiration on Thursday, two weeks after they visited
inmates at the local prison.
Chairman Gerard Bourgoin said the club wanted people who
struggled to make a living to inspire a fighting spirit in the
"The idea behind this is to have them be in touch with
workers, to confront the local reality and make them discover
all this together," Bourgoin told daily L'Equipe.
Borussia Dortmund's Mario Gotze ruled out of Champions League final against Bayern Munich
Malaga coach Manuel Pellegrini will leave the La Liga club at the end of the current season
Stoke City and manager Tony Pulis part company by mutual agreement after seven years
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