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Marseille midfielder Florian Thauvin believes his side can challenge Paris St Germain and Monaco for the title on the eve of their opening Ligue 1 match against Bastia on Saturday.

OM finished last season in sixth place and outside of the European positions - a disappointing result for the nine-time Ligue 1 champions.

However, Thauvin, 21, is confident this season will see Marseille challenging for silverware once again.

``Nothing is set in stone in football,'' Thauvin told OM.net.

``If Monaco and Paris start badly and we start well, we can compete with them.

``We will see how the championship pans out, but we are confident and we hope to have a very good season.''

OM will begin their title charge without the services of midfielder Mathieu Valbuena, who joined Dynamo Moscow last week.

``It's a shame that Mathieu Valbuena has left,'' Thauvin added. ``We were all very lucky to have played alongside him.

``His departure means other player's will have to take on more responsibilities, and I am one of those players. That will help me continue to grown and improve as a player.''

Claude Makelele will take charge of his first game ever game as a manager against one of his former clubs when he takes his position in the Bastia dugout.

The former OM, Chelsea and Paris St Germain midfielder was named manager of the Corsican side in May - his first managerial appointment.

``I'm more excited than worried. The preparation has been very good and it is good to start,'' the 41-year-old told sc-bastia.com.

``As I used to say, we will match by match. Our goal is to start with a positive result. I'm not worried, quite the contrary. I know my players are ready.''

ends

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