Exclusive interview with Morgan Sansonfri 12 jan at 21:00
Morgan, first of all, can you give us an update on your general level of fitness? You weren't in the line up facing the Valenciennes in the Coupe de France
It's much better. I'm well recovered. I had 4 or 5 difficult days. I'd had the flu followed by a throat infection. But now I'm back on track.
What's special about 17th January 2017?
(Laughing) It's the day I arrived at Marseille. It was a really proud moment for me. A reward and an honour as I had spent some time off the pitch, injured. I had struggled to come back and so I was extremely proud to wear this club's strip.
You were the first OM "McCourt version" rookie and therefore that makes you one of the first icons of the OM Champion Project. Looking back, did you feel the pressure at the time?
Not really. I was very calm and confident. I knew that if I worked as hard as I had at Montpellier, everything would be fine. Every game, I give my all and I think it shows. I wasn't apprehensive and only convinced that everything would go well.
The result was very positive both personally and collectively. What is your best memory of the first six months?
I think it has to be our victory in the Coupe de France against Olympique Lyonais (Note: 2-1 after extra time in the last 16) We played a long but great match. It was one of my first games with OM.
And what's been your biggest disappointment?
Le clasico. Beyond the result, it was more the fact of not being able to play in the match. As soon as I arrived at Marseille, I had marked this date on my calendar and unfortunately i couldn't play.
Looking at you, it could be said that you've fitted in perfectly. It's quite amazing considering how young you are. You even finished the season with the title for best completed passes in Ligue 1 Conforama with twelve assists. What does that mean to you?
During the season, I didn't pay much attention to it. But in the last few games, I thought it would be nice to stay in the lead. It was a real source of pride because I love making assists.
This season, you've played in different positions. You've been placed much further up field. Why was this?
It was the coach's decision. It hasn't been a problem for me. As soon as I start playing, I'm happy. Whether I'm in number 8 or number 10 position, it doesn't matter to me. You just have to find your bearings.
Rudi Garcia is very demanding. It's the sign of a great coach.
You've always got on well with your coaches. What can you tell us about Rudi Garcia?
He's very focused on tactics. You can sense that he's been in Italy where tactical work is a big priority. He advocates a collective game with lots of passes and few ball touches to move forward quickly. This is the style I particularly love. It's one of the reasons that made me want to come here. He's very demanding. It's the strength of a great coach. By working alongside him, I've increased my versatility.
Does having a midfielder of Luiz Gustavo's calibre allow you to have more freedom in attack?
Yes, but at the same time, in my last games, I played at his side and I was still vigilant on my defence substitutions.
What do you think about the Brazilian?
He's a really great player. I'd been told a lot of good things about him. And I can confirm it. He's impressive. A class act and really professional. He's been very quick to learn French and he talks a lot to us. I'm very lucky to work alongside him.
I prefer assists.
You're still crucial to the team, less in the pass, but more in the finish ...
It's precise. This is already my most prolific season, across all competitions. I hope it's not finished yet and I'll keep on scoring even if I prefere goal assists.
Yes, that gives me more pleasure. Except when I score at Orange Vélodrome (laughing)
This season, you've had a good run in Ligue 1 Conforama with almost systematically being placed in the top five. You even reached second place at one point. How would you judge your first part of the season?
It feel like it's been much more consistent than last year. This is what creates our strength. We all really play together, especially on defence substition. That's what makes us able to finish a lot of games with a clean sheet. It's important to stay at the top of your ranking.
The championship is unusual this season. Four teams stand out at the top of the rankings. It's a bit like the English "Big Four"...
It's true. Lots of people have made this comparison. All teams are holding on in there. Even if you're focused on our results, you can't help but look at the others. The fight between us, Lyon and Monaco is particularly fierce. The stakes are even greater. We mustn't let go. Any defeat could cost us dearly. That's what makes games really exciting.
On Saturday, the championship starts again with an away match in Rennes. Stade Rennais FC beat you in the first leg (1-3) and then in the League Cup (2-2, 4.3 at t.a.b). Can you imagine what a beautiful victory that would be?
And how! Our defeat in Ligue 1 Conforama followed our defeat to Monaco. In the Coupe de la Ligue, it got better, but we still defeated. It was difficult to take. On Saturday, we're heading there with a taste for revenge. We'll need to take 3 points.
After playing against all opponents, how do you feel about the team?
I think we're capable of beating any of our opponents. The team improves on a daily basis. We've had a great team dynamic going for the last few months. In the return matches, we'll have to do at least as well in points and up the quality of our play.
The initial target for the season was to do better than 2016-2017 where we were in fourth place. That's still possible,isn't it?
We have the means to finish in fourth place, but if we can aim higher, we're going to go for it. Our opponents fear us. This proves the quality of our side. We must push this.
To finish, what message would you like to give to your supporters?
That they continue to be at our side. We really feel that there's a true army behind us ,supporting us. We need that to continue. We need them.