Tense by a much more turbulent off-season than expected, Olympique de Marseille resumes competition on Sunday against Reims in Ligue 1 (8:45 p.m.), in a Velodrome suspicious of its new coach, Igor Tudor.
On May 21, in their last game in the Championship, OM crushed Strasbourg (4-0) and took advantage of Monaco’s draw at Lens (1-1) in extremis to become vice-champion of France.
Directly qualified for the Champions League in a Velodrome drunk with joy, Mattéo Guendouzi celebrated this result in the arms of coach Jorge Sampaoli and president Pablo Longoria left the presidential stand in tears.
“It’s the magic of Marseille!” exclaimed the Spaniard once he got down on the lawn.
But the magic of Marseille is also to go from the big blue sky to the storm in less than three months. It all started with the resignation of Jorge Sampaoli on July 1 and the arrival on the bench of Igor Tudor, with radically opposed methods.
– “Sure of the way” –
On the pitch, “it’s a game that goes against what we did last year. It calls for depth, opportunities that come quickly, pressing,” confirmed Dimitri Payet on Friday.
Behind the scenes, Tudor has already clashed with certain executives, which forced Pablo Longoria to come and remind the group of the hierarchy in a football club.
“There is the club [en haut]the coach [au milieu] and the players [en bas]”, insisted the Spaniard, joining the action to the word, Wednesday in front of the press. “Any change takes time (…) It is sure that we are not going to judge the real Olympique de Marseille of Igor Tudor from September. We, the club, are sure of the path we have taken.”
If Tudor has the presidential support, he does not have that of the supporters, who expressed no reaction when his name was pronounced for the first time by the announcer of the Velodrome on Sunday. Worse, it was under the bronca that the Marseillais left the field 90 minutes later after their defeat (2-0) against AC Milan.
“We worked well this week and I get on well with the players,” reassured the former Hellas Verona coach on Friday in front of the media. “But I guess what interests you is the question of results. I have been coaching for ten years, and I have always said that there is a big difference between preparation and official matches. freshness (physical), that’s not what I was looking for so far”.
– Eleven remodeled –
So here is the Croatian at the dawn of his first big meeting on Marseille soil without great certainties and his players, without great automatisms. The defense, which is particularly worrying during the preparation matches, should be made up of five new ones, from the three centrals (Mbemba, Gigot, Touré) to the two pistons (Clauss, Tavares).
In the middle, Jordan Veretout, eighth rookie of the summer, could already play his first minutes with the white jersey. “He already knows what we want to put in place (…) He has studied everything and watched all the preparation matches”, assured Longoria Friday evening, at the time of the signing of the French international (five selections).
As for the offensive sector, which is rather inefficient in friendlies (four of the five goals were scored against the fans of Marignane), it will be based on the Payet-Gerson duo, responsible for supplying the position of top striker coveted by Arkadiusz Milik and Luis Suárez.
Even in the event of defeat, Tudor will be able to argue that one of his predecessors, André Villas-Boas, had barely done better when he arrived. In the summer of 2019, the Portuguese had collected two victories and three defeats, before attacking the Championship with a setback at the Vélodrome against… Reims (2-0). “AVB” would then lead OM to second place in L1.
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