Ligue 1: Marseille - Monaco, angry day at the Stade Vélodrome

Lucas Ocampos, here in the defeat of Marseille against Apollon Limassol, and his partners know that a hostile Velodrome awaits them Sunday.
Lucas Ocampos, here in the defeat of Marseille against Apollon Limassol, and his partners know that a hostile Velodrome awaits them Sunday. BORIS HORVAT / AFP

They promised a "typhoon", came in the middle of the week to the gates of the Commandery, the training center of OM about twenty kilometers from the Old Port, demanding accountability. They have tagged hostile slogans demanding the departure of Rudi Garcia, the coach, and Jacques-Henri Eyraud, the president, on the surrounding walls ... The supporters of Olympique de Marseille are exasperated and intend to show it Sunday, January 13 , at this OM - Monaco (21 hours), last match of the 20e Ligue 1 day, for which 46,000 people are expected at the Stade Vélodrome.

"The future of our club is in jeopardy The South Winners, the main association of supporters in a statement to its 7,200 subscribers, make no mistake. " The coach kills the players, the management kills the club ... "Add the MTP, 3,500 members, before inviting the people of Marseille to come and express" his revolt At the Velodrome. " Eyraud and the fans, it's a bit like Macron and the yellow vests, gauge a member of the Commando Ultra, the oldest of the Marseille fan groups. At first, it was a love story. Today is the return to the harsh reality for a management who thought they could lead the club as a start-up without considering the context ". " We no longer trust them ... No more players than leaders "Scolds S., former south turn, who will shout his anger Sunday, as he did earlier this week at the Commandery.

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Faced with this tension, which leads the police headquarters to reinforce the security around the Marseilles enclosure and the bus route of the players, Olympique de Marseille intends, like the President of the Republic, " stay focus ". Within the club, no one denies the sporting crisis, nor the need to take steps to regain victory. But OM, which since the arrival of the new shareholder the American Frank McCourt and its president Jacques-Henri Eyraud, sees itself first as a company, intends to live the moment without giving in to the emergency. And clings to his ambition of stability in a volcanic universe.

Nine defeats in thirteen games

In the short term, there is no question of sacking Rudi Garcia, even in case of failure against Monaco. A surge of transfers, like the one that lives the opponent of the day, 19e in Ligue 1 standings, would not be more topical. As a symbol, Friday, January 11, OM hosted a symposium on " entrepreneurship in neighborhoods ". President Eyraud discussed with economist and former adviser to President Mitterrand, Jacques Attali. Far from the immediate concerns of supporters and social networks.

Against the press, the same day, Rudi Garcia was surprised "The short memory From the world of football. A feeling that many share in the Marseille club. Nine months after winning the Europa League final against Atletico Madrid (0-3), OM and his coach did not think they would be so vulnerable to criticism. But the club missed its recruitment, became angry with some of the supporters' associations, missed its European campaign and was pitifully eliminated from the Coupe de la Ligue and the Coupe de France, lining up a series of disasters. nine defeats in thirteen matches.

Given the hard numbers, the leaders of the OM highlight the work done on training, successful negotiations to recover the exclusive exploitation of the stadium Vélodrome and cling to the fact that the club remains before the reception of Monaco , six points from third place in Ligue 1, the minimum goal of the season. With three games late on Lille and Lyon, two of his main rivals in this race to the Champions League. " Me, I believe in this group and I think to be the man of the situation to bring Olympique Marseille at the end of the season where we want to be Still considers Rudi Garcia.

The week of introspection

Extended last October until 2021 by President Eyraud, the Marseille coach feels untouchable? On his personal case, he gives an appointment in a few weeks, "When all late matches have been played ". In the high spheres of OM, we do not see the new contract of Rudi Garcia, despite the severance pay that could result, as a totem of immunity. But rather as proof of confidence that a single shot of mistral can not sweep. The declarations of team executives, like that of world champion Florian Thauvin - « the coach is not alone "- have, in this regard, been greeted with relief by the leaders of Marseille, a time worried about their players let go of the coach.

To restart the sports machine and try to calm the grumbling, OM will not use the card transfers. The arrival of the Italian Mario Balotelli, still under contract with Nice, is still an option, but, like the previous summer, not at any price, nor in any condition. The chosen solution is therefore, for the moment, primarily internal. The defeat against fans of Andrézieux (0-2) in 32e final of the Coupe de France, January 6, it seems it served as electroshock. With, as main targets, players placed in front of their responsibilities. Greening behind the walls of the Commandery, a session of collective introspection, whose content was partly revealed by The Team with a speech by the Brazilian Luiz Gustavo appealing to the sacred union, reinforced training ... The Olympians were " internally abused " in the words of their coach.

What trigger an awareness? At OM, we are assured that the week has been "Exemplary, with a staff who took the problem head-to-head ". Friday, a few minutes before his coach, Florian Thauvin engaged in an exercise in transparency and contrition unpublished. " My decisions are not always the right ones »,« I sometimes forget my teammates »,« my defensive withdrawal is not perfect "Chained the attacker face the questions of journalists. A shame for one of the few players who, with eleven goals and three assists since the beginning of the season, holds his place. But one way to show that the team as a whole would present, now, with better intentions.

If OM does not beat a Monaco even sicker than him Sunday night and does not chain, the following Wednesday, on a good result in Saint-Etienne, the pressure may not be bearable for the Marseille leadership. But if the team passes this course, it will win its bet to prove that the change in the most explosive club in France is, this time, deeper than the fans believe.

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Gilles Rof (Marseille, correspondent)

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