He rose to the challenge.
At 48, Igor Tudor arrived on the Olympique de Marseille bench during the last off-season from Hellas Verona.
Renowned for being demanding, the successor to the Argentinian Jorge Sampaoli had the heavy task of bringing OM back to the top of French football.
Calendar and results Ligue 1
League 1 standings
Soon at the end of his first season in France, the Croatian technician - spent as a player at Juventus from 1998 to 2007 - gave himself up to
And looks back on the highlights of the Marseille season, his working methods and his impressions of a championship he is discovering.
Tottenham and Annecy, the two failures of his season
Igor Tudor arrived in Marseille with the ambition to do well in Ligue 1. But the Croatian also had to take up a much bigger challenge: the Champions League.
And after mixed results in a pool made up of Frankfurt, Sporting Lisbon and Tottenham, OM finished last.
But above all experienced immense disappointment during the final match of the group stages against Tottenham.
A draw was enough for the men of Tudor to be transferred to the Europa League.
But after keeping the score, they ended up taking a goal in the last moments of the game (2-1, 90 + 5th).
In the Champions League, we are a team of the fourth hat.
The objective was to appear well and we
Before adding: "
We missed a goal and we had the misfortune to also lose the Europa League in ten minutes, but that's football
Eliminated, the Marseille club had to switch.
And what could be better than a victorious round of 16 match in the Coupe de France against the Parisian ogre (2-1) a few weeks later?
This Cup match against PSG is one of the most beautiful matches in which I have participated as a coach.
” notes the Croatian coach.
On this meeting, almost everything worked.
And Marseille's season seemed to take a completely different turn.
In the quarter-finals, Jordan Veretout's teammates received Annecy, resident of Ligue 2. On paper, the bookmakers see Marseille winning and no one expects a feat from Haut-Savoyards.
And yet, the unimaginable happened.
Defeated on penalties in their den of the Vélodrome, the Olympians exit through the smallest of doors.
Igor Tudor after the defeat of his family against Annecy.
NICOLAS TUCAT / AFP
I saw this match against Annecy three times.
You can't tell me that we had a bad game and that we underestimated them.
We missed something, of course, but we ran more than 120 km in this match.
They ran like I've never seen a team run at this level: 132 km.
We wanted, we had to, but what happened happened,
”explains the Croatian coach with hindsight.
“Now we have to finish the season well”
The failures in the Champions League and the Coupe de France logically did not please the Marseille public.
Booed, whistled, Tudor and his men now have no choice but to end the season in style in the league.
Now here it is.
We have to finish the season well.
There are ten matches left, it will be difficult
But the former player of Juve and Split in particular knows it.
Dethroning PSG will be difficult.
If they want to win, they win.
Then there is Mbappé.
I have immense respect for Messi, who for me is the best player in the history of football.
Mbappé is the strongest in the world today and their team is not the same without him.
Besides, when he's not there, we beat them.
Then, with him and with another motivation, they won.
“continues the person concerned.
Igor Tudor, around his men.
STEPHANE MAHE / PANORAMIC
The Marseille boss affirms it: "
We will try to win everything and we will see where it takes us
And for that, Igor Tudor leaves nothing to pass.
Of demanding reputation, the Croatian does not give a gift.
I am demanding, yes it is true.
I want us to work because the more you work, the better it goes on Sunday.
Last week, I sent one to the locker room because he wasn't making the effort.
We can joke, laugh but work is work
asks the 48-year-old.
And Marseille will have to keep this requirement until the end of the season.
Still in the nails mathematically to aim for the first place promised to the Parisians, OM must also look in the rear view mirror.
And for proof.
With 10 rounds to go, Mattéo Guendouzi's men are only two points ahead of 3rd, Lens, and five over 4th, Monaco.
Anyway, a second place would already be a lot for Tudor and OM.
The latter even explained to our colleagues from L'Équipe not to have followed Ligue 1 before his arrival in France.
Honestly, I followed her very little.
In Italy, we look more at Spain and England.
France is less considered and it is a mistake.
When you start watching it, you completely change your mind.
It's an exciting Championship, with beautiful stadiums, talented players, and if I had to describe it, I would say that it is super difficult
” analyzes Tudor.
For him and his men, the objective now is to finish well to wash away the affront of the poor performance achieved during the season.