With Stade Rennais’ misstep against FC Nantes on Wednesday evening, Olympique de Marseille has its destiny in hand more than ever to qualify for the Champions League. The Phocaeans will play their first final against a direct competitor, Rennes, on Saturday evening, and in the event of victory, OM will be guaranteed to finish at least in third place, although the second is the objective in order to be directly qualified for the group stage. In a press conference, Jorge Sampaoli recognized the importance of beating Stade Rennais.
“Finishing 3rd is a problem for us with the play-offs”
“We try to take advantage of this week to recover the players affected in the last game. Our preparation has not changed from yesterday’s results. We do not depend on others, but on ourselves. We must maintain the lead we have until the last moment, in order to qualify for the Champions League. We often try to use others to motivate ourselves, but we must know that our future is in our hands. Our task is to win in Rennes“, analyzed Jorge Sampaoli.
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“The game against Feyenoord can help us. You have to see how we were able to dominate and neutralize Rennes in the first leg. They are a very strong team in the last meters. They have several parts of the pitch where they are very interesting, with in particular the full-backs who can play very deep. We have to manage to push them back as far as possible from our surface. It will be a very difficult match, but also decisive for the club. We want to stay in our place“added the Argentinian.
“When the championship is over, we will talk and see what is best for the club”
“The schedule is tough for us, with two finals against teams that are still fighting for Europe. We can finish 2nd, but also 5th. It would probably be a problem for us to finish 3rd, for the preparation with the We know the needs of the club, we also know that we have a very young squad to achieve this objective and that we have had a good season.”concluded Sampaoli on the race for the C1.
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The Argentinian explained his decision to play Steve Mandanda more in the last Ligue 1 matches: “The decision is linked to several factors, the sportsman and the leadership. You need leaders in the decisive matches. The choice in the last matches has been difficult. These are coaching decisions, at the time, compared to what what we see in training and the needs of the group. It’s very difficult for me to choose between two players who are so important in this position. Pau Lopez had a great season, and Steve has improved a lot lately, he is in great form. When he’s in form, he’s a different player. It’s great competition.”
Sampaoli wants to keep Saliba
The OM coach spoke about his future and is not worried about his future: “I have a very good relationship with the president and the owner. Sincere relationship. I know the club’s concern about this, but I can’t distract myself. If I start thinking about the future, I will walk away of the present. It will affect our quest for the goal. When the championship is over, we will talk and see what is best for the club, what I can offer. The president deserves a sincere decision. But first, you have to know where you’re going to finish”.
Jorge Sampaoli hopes to keep William Saliba on loan from Arsenal next season: “William’s progress is linked to his development this season, this maturity he has taken, his playing time. He is now consistent. He has grown as a player. Compared to his situation at the club, I hope that we will be able to retain a player like him, who knows the club. But I don’t know if it depends on OM, William or Arsenal. But I don’t know the possibilities of this file “.
Finally, the OM coach, named among the best coaches of the season, displayed his skepticism regarding individual awards in football: “It is very difficult for me to analyze the value of a reward. There is a mountain of aspects to take into account, in relation to each club. An individual reward in a collective sport, I don’t really agree. This sport is becoming more and more individual, egos are becoming more and more important. But hey, that’s part of the show.”