Pablo Longoria defends Marseille sporting director Medhi Benatia following criticism over handling of Jonathan Clauss affair

Olympique de Marseille president Pablo Longoria has come to the defence of sporting director Medhi Benatia, who has been criticised for his handling of the Jonathan Claus (31) affair. 

On Sunday, Benatia, who joined Marseille earlier this season in what is his first appointment as sporting director, went public in his criticism of Clauss, whom he accused of having “behavioural issues”. 

“I arrived in the month of November and I was warned about two or three players, whose behaviour was sometimes a bit borderline. Jonathan Clauss was one of those players,” added Benatia in an interview with Canal Plus. Those comments drew a fierce response from the UNFP, France’s football player union, who accused Benatia of “bullying” the France international. 

Speaking at the presentation of new interim manager Jean-Louis Gasset on Tuesday, Longoria has hit back at the UNFP and sought to defend the under-fire Benatia. “I have full confidence in him,” began Longoria, whose position as president of OM has also come under scrutiny in light of recent events. 

“On the UNFP, I didn’t like their press release. You have to be serious and their press release was not that. What is serious is responding to phone calls. I phoned them three times today without a response. Being serious is listening to all parties to have an idea,”  said Longoria. 

He added, “When we brought Medhi Benatia on as a sporting advisor, it was for his qualities. But he doesn’t have the same communication as a player, as an agent or as a sporting advisor. It is important for his development, but he has huge potential.”

GFFN | Luke Entwistle

 

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