Soccer-Lille clash 'important but not decisive', says PSG coach Pochettino

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PARIS (Reuters) - Paris St Germain coach Mauricio Pochettino said Saturday's top-of-the-table Ligue 1 clash against Lille would be important but not decisive as the season nears its end.

PSG lead the standings on 63 points, ahead of second-placed Lille only on goal difference, with eight games remaining.

"It is obviously an important game and our goal is to stay on top after it, but it's not decisive," Pochettino told a news conference on Friday.

PSG will be without Italy midfielder Marco Verratti, who returned from international duty with a thigh injury and will be rested four days before their Champions League quarter-final clash at Bayern Munich.

Pochettino said that Neymar, who played 20 minutes as a second-half substitute when returning from an injury layoff before the international break, had improved physically.

"He was able to train at a high level for two weeks. We are pleased with the way he has been training. His physical level and rhythm are getting better. Of course he needs to play," he said.

Lille coach Christophe Galtier does not believe that PSG's upcoming Champions League clash will affect the French champions' mindset.

"At this time of the season PSG often have to play a decisive game for the title and Champions League games, and even sometimes a League Cup knockout game," he told a news conference.

"So they're used to that kind of scheduling."

Lille have not lost an away game in Ligue 1 since last November.

(Reporting by Julien Pretot; Editing by Toby Davis)