Struggling to revive Marseille’s fortunes

AFP

PARIS: He has only been in charge for 12 games but the pressure is building on Andre Villas-Boas (pic) at Marseille after a disastrous week for the former European champions.

Marseille were dumped out of the French League Cup at the first hurdle on Wednesday, going down 2-1 at Monaco as a potential route to silverware and European qualification was cut off.

That result followed a 4-0 humbling away to Paris Saint-Germain, a loss which left OM winless in 16 Ligue 1 meetings with their greatest rivals. Villas-Boas has overseen only four wins this season and Marseille have managed only one victory in their last seven outings. They lie seventh in France’s top flight before a pair of huge home games. The visit of last season’s runners-up Lille to the Velodrome on Saturday is followed by a date with Lyon.

“We can accept losing against Paris, given the difference between the squads, but not that,” said Villas-Boas after the Monaco reverse. 

“We have been knocked out of a Cup that I wanted to win, the players too. It is shameful.”

The 42-year-old has struggled to live up to his reputation since winning a domestic double and the Europa League in his one season at Porto in 2010-11.

Spells in England with Chelsea and Tottenham Hotspur never quite worked out, and while he won a Russian league and Cup with Zenit, Villas-Boas arrived in Marseille last May with something to prove on his return to Europe following a stint in China.

It was always going to be a gamble for him at the Velodrome, with Marseille’s American owner Frank McCourt no longer investing large sums in the squad and the team having failed to qualify for Europe this season.

Despite the underwhelming start, a top-three finish and a return to the Champions League for the first time since 2013-14 remains the objective. – AFP

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