It’s not about revenge for Gérard Houllier against Marseille. The Brazilian Fabio Santos, cleared to play or not, will make the trip…
Gérard, is this a grudge match given what has happened the last 2 times you have played each other?
“They are talking about revenge for the league match they lost 4-1. I’m not, but I could easily talk about when they knocked us out of the Coupe de France last season. OM was more at ease than we were in that match. This season, we have a cup team.”
Is a big match like this a good thing?
“I think it’s good. It’ll get us moving on another front, as it’ll be a game full of emotion, passion and commitment… we’ll have to try to stay calm, that’s really important in this kind of match. You have to be calm and control what happens. That’s what we did in the league.”
Have things changed since October and the recent transfer window?
“OM has Cissé back; Rodriguez has arrived. For us, we exchanged Carew for Baros. So there have been some adjustments but they don’t change the bigger picture. For OL, I recruited in anticipation. It’s up to us to play our game, we’re not obsessed with our opponents. That has an inhibitive aspect I don’t like.”
OL’s success in Marseille in recent seasons?
“I’m too recent an arrival at the club to make a personal conclusion about 2 matches. It’s simply a huge match. The big players show another dimension to their game in these matches, no offence to the other team they have played.”
Has the squad been affected by recent results?
“Our self-esteem has taken a bit of a beating. I’ve reviewed the last 2 matches, and they weren’t without good points. We’ve simply flagged in terms of results. Great teams get the best out of themselves in tough times. So it makes sense that the players haven’t hung their heads yet, and I like it lie that. This period has humanised us, at a pinch. Anyway, I would prefer to win the league having faced adversity… that’s football. We have to continue to work hard and apply ourselves. We have to find our rhythm again, find the ascendancy we had in the first half of the season. I’m against the idea that our first half of the season set us up. On the contrary, we have to build on it, stick together more than ever and keep on enjoying ourselves. The most important match is this one in Marseille. Each thing in its own time.”