Valbuena: Marseille must qualify for the Champions League

The 28-year-old has earmarked qualification to European football's biggest tournament as the primary target for this season
Mathieu Valbuena is targeting a return to the Champions League with Olympique de Marseille this season and has stressed the need for calm ahead of the title run-in.

The France international has started each of his side's 20 league games this season and while les Phoceens currently trail leaders Olympique Lyonnais by just three points, the midfielder insists a return to Europe's elite competition is the priority.

"What we need to do above all is get back into the Champions League," Valbuena told

"OM are a very popular and demanding club who expect to be in the Champions League every year.

"Last year, we had a disastrous season way below OM standards. This year, we're determined to finish in the top three and regain our place in the Champions League."

Marseille currently sit in third place in Ligue 1, but Valbuena has urged the club not to get carried away with their lofty position as they bid to launch a title charge.

He added: "We don't talk about it because there's still a long way to go in the championship.

"We need to keep our feet on the ground and believe we're capable of competing for the title without getting carried away, especially as we're still so far from the finishing line."