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Marseilles (AFP) – Second in Ligue 1 last year, OM are still aiming for the Champions League but the project seems colossal: questioned by his players and whistled by the Vélodrome after a disastrous preparation, the new Marseille coach Igor Tudor is living from the beginnings very complicated.
A single victory against a National 2 club, a draw and three defeats, including the last at the Vélodrome against AC Milan and now the vase is already threatening to overflow. The Marseille fans have reserved a bronca on Sunday for Igor Tudor and his men for his first at home, a few days before the resumption of L1 on Friday.
The truth will not be known before the start of the championship but there are many concerns: defensive shortcomings, lack of realism, injury to incumbent goalkeeper Pau Lopez… The Tudor paw is struggling to imprint itself.
And the unease is noticeable among the players: “We can’t shoot to the right and he to the left, otherwise we won’t advance. We have to trust him and believe in his speech. . Let’s pull in the same direction,” defender Jonathan Clauss, the star rookie of the summer, said after the loss to Milan.
A few days earlier, the hasty departure of deputy Mauro Camoranesi for “personal reasons”, after barely a week in office, reinforced the questions of the summer.
Marseille is however coming out of a good season, with a second place in L1 synonymous with the Champions League. Enough to validate the decisions of President Pablo Longoria, the man who chose to appoint Jorge Sampaoli as coach.
But the Argentinian coach, cooled by OM’s tight finances, preferred to leave the ship on July 1, once again opening a period of uncertainty at the club.
Longoria quickly rebounded by turning to the Italian Serie A and the Croatian Igor Tudor, a bold bet which he must now justify, after very turbulent first weeks.
Inevitably, the rather light CV of the former defender of Juventus Turin, who only really succeeded in one season, his last with Hellas Verona, could quickly fuel the debate.
Because Tudor’s previous experiences in Croatia, Greece, Turkey (Galatasaray) or already in Italy (Udinese) have been much less convincing.
To the Marseillais, who have not necessarily all followed the Italian championship diligently, the club president promised “a game of great personality, with heart, ambition, intensity”. Everything that Tudor achieved with Verona, in short… But he is struggling to decline in the Marseille city, for the moment.
While he advocates a deliberately attacking and aggressive game, his attack remained silent against Norwich and Middlesbrough, English second division clubs.
And his defense, so solid under Sampaoli, was feverish, with 8 goals conceded in 5 matches.
One of OM’s objectives, however, is to exist again at the best European level and in particular in the Champions League, after two ordeals in 2013 and 2020…
Ligue 1 is not an objective but an imperative, a new qualification in C1 being a quasi-economic obligation for OM, whose annual losses amount to tens of millions of euros.
The race will be tough: PSG, Lyon, Monaco, Nice, Rennes or Lille will have the same ambitions.
To achieve this, Tudor will rely on Gerson, who gained momentum throughout last season. The involvement of playing master Dimitri Payet will be a key issue, like that of Arkadiusz Milik, who has often suffered from Sampaoli’s tactical choices.
The Croatian can also count on Clauss, bought from Lens and Nuno Tavares, on loan from Arsenal. Two reinforcements in the corridors, one of OM’s weak points in recent years.
In goal, Pau Lopez is finally rid of the specter of the immense Steve Mandanda, gone to Rennes. But the Spaniard was injured at the end of the preparation and the question of leadership without “Il Fenomeno” arises seriously. Especially since OM did not shine by their cohesion or their resilience during the off-season…
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