Bordeaux optimistic after Europa exit

Bordeaux's dismal Europa League campaign ended on a suitably low note in midweek but they now at least can look forward to contesting the second half of their Ligue 1 campaign free of distraction.

Napoli vs Bordeaux: Yoann Gouffran

A 1-0 loss at Maccabi Tel Aviv on Thursday night brought the curtain down on a Group F campaign that delivered just three points for Bordeaux, condemning them to bottom spot.

Yet domestically the picture is much rosier, and they head into Sunday's clash with Valenciennes at the Stade Chaban-Delmas seeking to defend an unbeaten run that has seen them vault up the Ligue 1 standings.

Bordeaux's win over Lille last time out was their third in a row in the league - a run in which they have not conceded a goal - and they now sit in sixth place on 27 points, just two behind another Europa League berth.

And coach Francis Gillot admits Bordeaux's season is "getting interesting" after a poor start to the campaign that delivered just one win from their first eight league outings.

Gillot said the Lille win "confirmed the progress that the team has made and continued our positive dynamic".

He added: "We are just a couple of points away from fourth place and it is getting more and more interesting.

"Two months ago, we didn't think we would be where we are now."

While's Bordeaux's progress is very much upward, the same cannot be said for a Valenciennes side mired in the relegation zone, five points from safety.

Last week's 1-1 draw at home to Guingamp extended VA's winless run to five games and midfielder David Ducourtioux feels that has put the pressure on ahead of Sunday's game.

"Everyone would have been happy if we had beaten Guingamp and then drawn at Bordeaux, so now we need to turn it around and win on Sunday," he said.

"The important thing is to make sure we are not too far adrift at the winter break. Beyond that, we will see, but I believe."

VA's hopes have been harmed by a long injury list that currently sees Anthony Le Tallec, Lindsay Rose and Gregory Pujol sidelined.

The news is better for Bordeaux, who are set to welcome back top-scorer Cheick Diabate after three games out through illness.

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