Marseille and Monaco, two Europeans plagued by doubt
During the last three days, OM (2nd) and ASM (10th) faced Metz, Clermont and Troyes for one, Lorient, Bordeaux and Reims for the other. And the record against these six formations in the last third of the table is overwhelming: OM took four points, Monaco only two.
In Marseille, the quality of play is also very uncertain at the moment. The question of the use of Milik, a real number 9 often sacrificed in favor of a system without a center forward which puts Payet at the heart of everything, has poisoned the last few weeks, which have also been those of a new defensive fragility.
Monaco, for its part, is still digesting the arrival this winter of its new coach Philippe Clement, who recalls that he has only been there “for eight weeks” and that his work cannot be judged “for six months”.
In the meantime, the team from the Principality is only 10th in the league and on Wednesday saw their first goal fly away with elimination against Nantes in the semi-finals of the Coupe de France.
However, it is indeed a clash between two « big guys » in the championship which 55,000 spectators must attend this Sunday at the Vélodrome.
“It’s an important match, against a great team that is prepared to play in the Champions League. It’s not a decisive match, not the last opportunity. But we have to be up to a much stronger rival than the previous two, « said Marseille coach Jorge Sampaoli on Friday, inevitably frustrated by the defeat against Clermont (2-0) and the draw from Troyes (1 -1).
After several extremely dense weeks, the Argentinian technician had seven full days between Troyes and Monaco to rest his players, « recharge the batteries », then work on « finding the best version of OM ».
“It is difficult to be protagonists offensively as in our best periods. We must return to this offensive moment which bothered the opponent. We have to find different solutions and find the best OM, the one who is the protagonist. We have to win and find a convincing team,” he said.
Pol Lirola for his part insisted on the defensive aspect. “We lost points because of this loss of solidity. We must become again this team which defends well and which defends together ”, judged the Spaniard.
» Nothing has changed «
But this is the Marseille paradox, the Spaniard also recalled that OM were still qualified in the Europa League Conference and 2nd in Ligue 1, with the possibility, if successful, of pushing Monaco to 12 points, « a difficult gap to to recover « .
Of course, Philippe Clement doesn’t see things that way. “There are still 12 matches left, or a third of the championship. After the victories at Lens (4-2 in the Cup), against Lyon (2-0) and Amiens (2-0 in the Cup), everyone was enthusiastic. Nothing has changed”, assures the Belgian technician.
And the three points taken in three L1 games? Cup elimination? “In the last four games, we have lacked success. It could have been nine points out of nine and a qualification in the final. This is not the case but everyone sees the good work of the players on a daily basis, ”he explains.
Clement therefore believes in a return to the top of the table. Praised for his ability to boost the confidence of his players, he again used this same psychological spring.
“I don’t think Marseille is stronger. At the moment, we just lack success. But we can compete with anyone, “says Dutch striker Myron Boadu, scorer Wednesday in Nantes.