Marseille starts its marathon against Lorient, and Jorge Sampaoli fears « mental fatigue »

Dizzying sequence. Marseille advance without a net against Lorient on Sunday October 17 in Ligue 1, to kick off an acrobatic sequence of matches every three days until November 7. The Marseillais already fear the « mental fatigue », a week away from the classic against PSG.

With the intense and loose game advocated by Jorge Sampaoli, OM succeeded in their end of summer, suffocating a number of opponents with their incessant races. But things got tough once the fall came, and with it the hellish pace of an Olympian team fighting on two fronts: for the podium in L1 but also to get out of the group stage of the Europa League. , with in particular a thorny double confrontation against Lazio (going to Rome Thursday October 21, return November 4).

The Marseillais during the defeat in Lille, at the Pierre Mauroy stadium, on October 3 & nbsp; 2021.  (SPEICH FRÃ © DÃ © RIC / MAXPPP)

This OM, suddenly become less bloody, remains on four official matches without a win. A failure that the reception of Lorient must make it possible to remedy Sunday, in particular the day of the awaited tribute of the Vélodrome stadium to Bernard Tapie, emblematic ex-president of the club who died on October 3.

Jorge Sampaoli did not hide it, evoking a « results requirement » which weighs in the heads and in the legs. « Fatigue, for me, is more linked to this need to win than to physical fatigue, it is more a mental fatigue », developed the Argentine coach on Friday at a press conference. « The obligation of result is negative, it can cause a short-circuit. You need joy, freshness (…) but no obligation of victory, otherwise it brings too much stress. »

Stressed, the Marseillais? Their accounting situation is not yet too worrying, with 14 points (as many as the Lorientais), one game less, and only four lengths behind Lens (18 points), runner-up to the untouchable PSG (27 points).

But the calendar, full-bodied, does not allow the slightest relaxation: after Lorient at the Vélodrome and Lazio in Rome, it is therefore Paris which will stand on the road to OM for a hot reunion between Sampaoli, former coach of the ‘Argentina (2017-2018), and Lionel Messi, whom he led at the 2018 World Cup in Russia.

Then there will be a shock against Nice to replay behind closed doors, in Troyes, a match interrupted in August at the Allianz Riviera due to overflows from supporters. Finally, the promoted Clermont, Lazio and Metz will test the resistance of Marseille organizations and minds.

« There is the requirement of the calendar, with big games in addition: Lorient, Lazio, Paris Saint-Germain … We don’t really have time to rest, to prepare for all that », recognizes Sampaoli. But despite the absence of Turkish winger Cengiz Ünder, suspended Sunday, some reasons for hope emerge, such as the recovery of striker Arkadiusz Milik, recovered from a long knee injury, and especially the return of the master to play Dimitri Payet, absent in Lille (2-0 defeat) because of a calf.

« For me, he is the key player of this team », praised Sampaoli. « I consider Dimitri Payet playing at a very high level. In my coaching career, he’s one of the best players I’ve ever worked with. Personally, I would like to always have him on the pitch. » « With the sparks he brings, (Payet) is the technical leader », insists Sampaoli, « but sometimes he has a stroke, a little fatigue ». Like the entire Marseille team, which swings between the fear of heights and the intoxication of the summits that will follow one another.

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