Hilton desperate for winning start
The French champions have made a stuttering start to their title defence in Ligue 1 - winning just one of their opening five games - and are hoping the glamour of Europe's premier club competition will spark their season into life. A home clash with Spartak will test Marseille but Hilton believes a fine performance, and a win, could provide a platform to advance to the knockout stages from a pool which also contains Hungarian side MSK Zilina and English powerhouse Chelsea. He told the club's official website: "This is a group from which we can qualify. "Yet every year we say we will succeed and we don't. "This time we have the chance to start at home and if we win against Spartak the prospects are good." New signing, France striker Andre-Pierre Gignac, believes the second qualifying spot in the group will come down to a straight fight between Marseille and Spartak. "They are a tough team and very good technically," he said. "If Chelsea seem out of reach, Spartak will be our main opponent for qualification. "In this competition we know it is vital to take nine points from nine at home and then hope to go as far as possible. "It will be difficult but we must start with a win to build confidence." Spartak boss Valeri Karpin played down Marseille's struggles in Ligue 1 and pointed to the exit of another Russian club at the hands of Auxerre as a warning. "Auxerre have not won a single game (in Ligue 1) this season and are towards the bottom of the table yet it did not prevent them from knocking Zenit St Petersburg out of the Champions League in the play-offs," he said. "Not having impressive results in their national league should not mislead anyone." Spartak have not been in the best of form domestically themselves this season but did beat city rivals Saturn at the weekend.