Lorient-Olympique: bouncing back against Lorientsun 05 mar at 07:00
Olympique Marseille has just undergone a difficult week. It all started last Sunday, hosting Paris Saint-Germain at the Orange Velodrome: a match that ended with a stinging 5-1 defeat. It continued with another home match, this time in the Coupe de France. Olympique put on a much braver face than against the Parisians. Against a team that had beaten them 4-0 in the first leg and 1-4 on the return, they managed to hold on until extra time. Unfortunately, Monaco was able to build on some small mistakes by Marseilles to qualify 3-4 after extra time.
While the troops' morale was at its lowest point against PSG, it was restored somewhat after hosting Monaco on Wednesday. The Olympique team was able to hold on against Europe's best attacking players, and even though they lagged behind on goals throughout, they proved that they could keep up with the league leaders. "The week started badly, but by midweek things were looking a lot brighter even though the result wasn't what we had hoped for," acknowledged Rudi Garcia. Against Monaco, we came close to proving that we could qualify. On the other hand, against PSG, we slipped up badly. It hurt. On the outbound leg, we managed to take a point, but the result on the outbound was a slap in the face. Psychologically, the players are doing better than they were after the Paris game."
Rudi Garcia's players have always managed to pick themselves up after losing. However, they've never lost more than two matches on the trot. And, when even that happened (only once this season) they have reacted by quickly finding the way to victory. After their losses against Monaco and Lyon in the league, they came back with a comfortable victory against Montpelier (5-1) followed by another win in the Coupe de France (2-1 after extra time). "The squad always reacts well. They need to develop and learn from their defeats," Marseilles' coach admitted. We've got some high quality players and a solid team, but they can crumble easily when they're faced with teams that are better than us. Everyone needs to do better, not just the defence; everyone needs to train a bit harder. I expect actions. Talking about it is all very well, but doing something about it is much better."
The next match, where the Marseilles squad will need to bounce back and find their stride again after stumbling twice, is at Lorient. In last place since the season's tenth day of play, FC Lorient is now led by Bernard Casoni, who's been called in in a last-ditch attempt to save the club from what looks like inevitable relegation. After getting off to a good start - a win at Lille and a draw against Toulouse - the former Olympique Marseille player and coach has been going through a rough patch. Across all competitions, the "Merlus" now have four losses in succession, three of which were away games. "Lorient is a complicated team to play against. When they lose, they only ever lose by a single goal. It was tough against Metz and Nantes, and the same will apply at Lorient, even though we want a different outcome. We've shown two different sides to our character during our last away games. We need to show that we can do better, like we did at Dijon or Bastia. We need to go to Lorient hoping and expecting to pick up some points to make up for the onest we lost in our last two away matches".
Metz and Nantes are bad memories for us. Lorient must enable us to continue our forward march.