Marseille’s Igor Tudor heaps praise on Lens’ Franck Haise: “The coach I rate the highest.”

Second-placed Marseille travel to third-placed Lens on Saturday for a clash at the top of the Ligue 1 table. The match has all the ingredients needed to be one to remember: Lens are the best team in Europe’s top 5 leagues when playing at home, winning 14 of their 16 league outings at Stade Bollaert. Meanwhile, Marseille is the Ligue 1 side with the best away record. 

Marseille coach Igor Tudor spoke to the media in his pre-game press conference, that L’Équipe attended. The former Juventus centre-back also expects a great match for spectators. “They will put the pressure on us from the start, as they are used to when playing at home. I have great respect for our opponent, they have their qualities and we have ours.”

Tudor has drawn parallels between Marseille and Lens, two counter-pressing and energetic sides with a desire to produce attacking football. The OM boss has called for his players to keep a close eye on “very good player” and free-scoring Lens forward Loïs Openda (23). “We’ll try to be attentive to his runs and to his counter-attacks.” According to the former Hellas Verona manager, the Marseille squad is fired up for what will be a six-pointer in the fight to qualify for the Champions League group stage. “The squad trained this week like they had never trained before. I saw twenty players who all want to play, it does not make it easy for me to pick my starting XI!”

Tudor also heaped praise on his Lens counterpart Franck Haise, who is expected to be named Ligue 1 coach of the year. “He is the coach I rate the highest, one of the best in the league. If I had to mention a coach after my first season in L1, it’s him.”

GFFN | Bastien Cheval

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