0 – 1
On the mat against an opponent of his category in opening, Olympique de Marseille returns to battle Tuesday (9:00 p.m.) in Champions League facing the heavyweight of group C, Manchester City… With the risk of already ending up on the ropes.
Watch out for K.-O. : sounded by his defeat in the last minutes on the field of Olympiakos (1-0), OM are now advancing against
one of the best teams in the world, summarizes André Villas-Boas, the Olympian coach. There is something to tremble for the comeback of the Champions League at the Stade Vélodrome, seven years later and behind closed doors in accordance with health regulations : Marseille remains on ten defeats in a row in C1, since an 8th final return lost (but qualifying) to Inter (1-2, 1-0 in the first leg) in March 2012.
Beaten twice in the quarterfinals by Bayern Munich (2-0, 2-0), OM followed two years later with a zero score in six group matches in the 2013-2014 season, and finally the cruel defeat in Piraeus . It is not easy to put on the gloves again in these conditions, but OM have their strengths to show.
Already, the group has redressed morally by winning in Lorient (1-0) on Saturday, in swirling rain. With two consecutive victories in Ligue 1 (3-1 against Bordeaux before Brittany), OM has returned to the race for European belts, 5th three lengths behind the leaders. But City is something else. Tactically,
AVB consider that
this is not a match for innovations, with a smile highlighting the understatement.
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Trust in Payet and Benedetto
The Sky Blues
always have the solutions to get out of your pressure, dreaded Villas-Boas.
High pressure or low pressure, against City, it always gives the same thing: he will come out of this match with 60, 65% of the possession, that’s for sure, he predicts.
His central defender Duje Caleta-Car announces the program:
Stay close, compact, do not leave spaces, be aggressive. You have to be focused 90 minutes, if you lower the intensity for even a few moments, they can punish you, that’s the kind of team there.
AVB should return to his 4-3-3 fetish with Dimitri Payet, suspended for the last two matches in Ligue 1. The N.10 owes OM a revenge, after his failed match in Piraeus. But Villas-Boas defends it.
I have full confidence in him, I think he can score this season like he scored last season where + Dim + was our key player, assures the coach. Payet
himself, in the exchanges he has with me, recognizes that he can do better, continues AVB,
but that he regains his best level does not only depend on him but also on the team.
The biggest current concern for OM remains Dario Benedetto, his head in the bucket, still with zero goals this season. But AVB leaves it in point, and the Argentinian praised, on Téléfoot,
the coach who has contributed the most of his whole career.
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City in small shape
I thank Dario for his words, it’s exceptional for a coach, greet Villas-Boas.
I have already told you that I maintain my confidence in him, I support him, he is looking for his first goal, Dario has already experienced moments like that, pleads the coach. It’s up to me to help him find this first goal, after that, it will follow.
As usual, the Lusitanian technician hammers home his confidence in his group, rejecting the trials for lack of investment or solidarity.
We always seek balance, but the answer is in the game, not in solidarity, insists Villas-Boas. A characteristic of this team is precisely its efforts until the end, as we have proven in the matches against Lille, against Metz (equalization at 1-1 in the last minutes each time), and several times last season.
OM’s best chance may be to face a City in small form, author of their worst start in the Guardiola era, 8 points in five Premier League matches, like the draw conceded against West Ham (1-1) on Saturday.
The champion of England 2018 and 2019
may not be his best level, his coach admitted it, concedes Villas-Boas,
but they are anyway at a higher level than ours and remain the favorites tomorrow. Word of challenger.