Olympique de Marseille has finished with Europe and its steps too high for it but OM is up to its business in Ligue 1, well positioned and reasonably ambitious before facing Monaco on Saturday (5:00 p.m.) at the Stade Vélodrome during of the 14th day.
Five defeats in six Champions League matches on one side, five straight league victories on the other, the Marseille skills record is quite clear.
“I don't want to talk about it too much anymore.
It was a bad experience, there is not a lot of positive.
It was rather negative and difficult for us, ”summarized Marseille coach André Villas-Boas on Friday, invited to comment on the European season.
The Portuguese technician, who was no more excited than that by the possibility of playing in the Europa League, knows on the other hand that his group is in its place at the top of the Ligue 1 standings, 4th at four points from Paris SG and with two games late to play.
A shot to play for OM
“Playing fast against Monaco is good.
I want us to always stay at a reasonable distance from the top places, without counting on our matches to catch up.
So far we have managed to come back well after the defeats in the Champions League, I hope that we will be able to do it again, ”he explained.
Facing Monaco on Saturday then Rennes (9th) on Wednesday, OM will face two direct opponents, who share the same ambitions.
But Rennes has trouble digesting its discovery of the C1 and has only taken one point in the last four days, while Monaco, in difficulty against the big guns, lost last week to Lille and put an end to its positive spiral of four successes.
OM therefore have a chance to play and with four or six points, would have the right to continue to look up.
On top ?
“We may already be talking too much about the title.
We are close to PSG, but with their workforce, they can explode and then as soon as they are gone, it will be bye-bye and we no longer talk about it ", relativized" AVB ", who has already identified the last 10 matches of the season, without clash with rivals supposed for qualification in C1, as the period of truth.
“What I want for now is to stay close to the top and be strong against direct opponents.
But I believe that neither we, nor Monaco, think of this match to be champions.
What we want is (to find) the Champions League and that's why this match is important, ”he added.
While he will be deprived on Saturday of Dimitri Payet, suspended, and Jordan Amavi, hampered by a calf, the former Chelsea coach also expects an open match against Monaco, which he does not dislike.
“Monaco are playing well, mastering possession, attacking a lot.
Maybe we can take advantage of a little space.
With all these forward projections, they can also suffer counter attacks.
It's a bit like what we saw against Lille, ”he explained.
As for the players, the sequence of matches weighs heavily, but the good series underway in Ligue 1 has helped to gain confidence.
“We give off more serenity.
We have accumulated the victories, so everything is simpler, we realize our opportunities more, we manage more easily.
It's a very good thing, ”said Steve Mandanda on Tuesday.
On Friday, Dario Benedetto confirmed.
“We want to continue playing as we have been doing lately.
To stay on top ”.
League 1 standings