Lille Lyon and Marseille will have to put European disappointment behind them as they return to action in Ligue 1 this weekend and attempt to reel in leaders PSG.
The Parisians, buoyed by Qatari capital this season after years in the wilderness – their last title came in 1984 – lead the table by three points with Montpellier and Lyon heading the chasing pack.
The Champions League may have kept seven-times domestic champions Lyon in financial clover in recent seasons, but the easterners need a tonic this week after a 4-0 mauling at Real Madrid.
And Lyon could hardly have asked for a tougher fixture to put their European woes to the back of their minds — a visit to reigning champions Lille.
Lille have also found the midweek step-up a taxing business and a home loss to Inter Milan left their hopes of a place in the Champions League knockout stages hanging by a thread with just two points from three games.
In the league, Joe Cole and company are just a point shy of Lyon but will need to overcome a recent tendency to draw must-win games if they are to rein in PSG.
If Lille and Lyon are compensating for European inadequacies by at least making their presence felt in the domestic title race the same cannot be said of Marseille.
The Mediterranean side may still be the only French outfit to have lifted the Champions League and they may have tasted domestic glory as recently as last year.
Yet the magic has disappeared for Didier Deschamps and his men this campaign with just one league win to date leaving OM in the bottom six.
A last-gasp home loss to Arsenal was not what the doctor ordered ahead of a home encounter with fellow strugglers Ajaccio — though two earlier Champions League successes had underpinned sagging morale at the Stade Velodrome, as did a surprise Olympiakos win over Dortmund which means Marseille can still dream of a last 16 slot.
Deschamps says Europe must be put back in its box for now given his side’s urgent need to climb the table.
“We have a very important match Saturday and it’ll be backs to the wall,” said the former France skipper.
Those sentiments were echoed by Nicolas Nkoulou, who said: “We will be really up against it and we have to get ourselves straight against Ajaccio and show what we are made of.”
Marseille will have to do without experienced Souley Diawara, who is suspended.