Against Porto on Wednesday, Olympique de Marseille could surpass a sad record: the number of consecutive defeats in the Champions League. The Olympians want to do everything to avoid it and to revive to grab third place, synonymous with payout in the Europa League. Or even better.
To say that OM are poorly engaged in the Champions League is an understatement. At the time of receiving FC Porto at the Vélodrome, the Marseillais are three defeats in as many matches. Worse: they are stuck in a black series of 12 defeats in as many games in the competition.
By losing in Portugal in the first leg, the Marseillais have equaled the sad record of Anderlecht (2003-2005) and could therefore become the only European club to chain 13 losses in the event of defeat on Wednesday 25 November.
“Concretely, at some point, you have to have a little ego”
“We have hit our lowest point, now we have to do something”, analyzes coach André Villas-Boas at a press conference. “The first obstacle is the desire, to do more, to win more balls. The second is a team from Porto who master these emotional parameters. This is the key. If we unlock this mental aspect, that’s fine. help us in the organization. “
“Concretely, at some point, you have to have a little ego, look at yourself in a mirror, as a competitor you cannot accept that”, insists Florian Thauvin during the pre-match press conference. OM’s disastrous course in C1, zero points, zero goals, “it hurts”, underlines the winger. “Personally, I find it difficult to assume it, I have a feeling of shame, when you play in a club like OM, so powerful, with so many supporters …”
Thauvin on the series of defeats: “You have to look at yourself in a mirror. It hurts, I have a hard time accepting it, there is a feeling of shame. I do not accept it, we have to do better “
– The Phocaean (@lephoceen) November 24, 2020
OM did not arrive in the best conditions, however. The Olympians will have spent 19 days without playing, after the international break and the match postponed against Nice last Saturday, due to several cases of Covid-19 within the Nice workforce.
However, a victory could revive them in the race for 3rd place, synonymous with qualifying for the 16th in the Europa League, a folding seat currently occupied by the Greeks of Olympiakos (3 pts), who receive the undisputed leader Manchester City (9 pts) . Or even better.
Get inspiration from Atalanta 2019?
In case of victory against Porto, Olympique de Marseille could mathematically still claim second place in Group C. In the history of the Champions League, only one team has managed the feat of qualifying after three initial defeats: Atalanta in 2019.
In the first leg, the Italians had a series of setbacks: 5-1 against Manchester City, 2-1 at home against Shakhtar Donetsk and 4-0 in Zagreb against Dynamo. However, during the return phase, the Bergamasques recorded good performances: 3 to 0 in Donetsk against Shaktar, 2 to 0 against Zagreb and finally a draw against Manchester City (1-1). Seven points and a favorable scenario that allowed him to qualify for the round of 16.
“Marseille can still believe in it, keep the flame alive,” Porto coach Sérgio Conceiçao is wary. “We must not only see their course in this competition but also what they are doing in the league, because if they win their two games late they are first [en Ligue 1]”, he warns.” It’s a life-to-death match for them, “warns midfielder Sérgio Oliveira.
To revive, however, it would already be necessary for OM to mark what the Olympian team has still not done after 270 minutes on the European stage this season …