Hat-trick hero Salomon Kalou insisted winning was all that mattered to Lille after his goals saw them go third in Ligue 1 with victory at Ajaccio.
The Ivory Coast forward scored two penalties and one goal from open play in Corsica, while two strikes from Junior Tallo kept the bottom side in contention throughout a match that ended 3-2.
St Etienne had beaten second-placed Monaco to go third on Saturday, so claiming victory at the Stade Francois Coty was "imperative" for Champions League-chasing Lille, according to Kalou.
The former Chelsea man told L'Equipe: "I scored three goals but for me the main thing was getting the victory. It was imperative to take back third place after St Etienne's victory.
"We expected a difficult game against an opponent who already look condemned (to relegation).
"We were surprised by their start to the match, they pressed us very high up and got the opener.
"But in the second half we corrected a few things and that enabled us to regain control of the game.
"It was a painful victory but it allowed us to take third place."
Ajaccio boss Christian Bracconi, whose side are now 13 points from safety, criticised the performance of referee Olivier Thual.
If it had not been for the two penalties awarded to Lille and subsequently converted by Kalou, Bracconi argued his side would have held on to clinch their third win of the season.
He told L'Equipe: "Refereeing mistakes settled the game. It was poorly officiated.
"We are in 20th place and we just don't need that kind of refereeing.
"We never had a penalty in our favour while Lille had two so I must say that the referee was wrong.
"This afternoon, Lille played with 12 men."