‘The last 30 minutes gives us hope’: Jean Louis Gasset optimistic following Marseille’s Europa League defeat

Olympique de Marseille coach Jean Louis Gasset set an optimistic tone following his side’s 2-1 defeat to Benfica in their Europa League quarter-final first leg in Portugal on Thursday night. 

After being largely dominated for the first hour of the encounter, Les Phocéens worked their way back into contention in the tie, with Pierre Emerick Aubameyang’s strike midway through the second half giving his side hope for next week’s second leg at Stade Vélodrome, a sentiment echoed by the coach: 

“The last 30 minutes and the goal leave us alot of hope for the return leg. I’m keeping in mind that we’re still alive, we know where we’ll be playing, who we’ll be playing in front of, we know we are capable of turning things around at home, carried by our home crowd.

We scored three goals against Shakhtar, four against Villarreal, we like playing in front of our fans, in our stadium, in front of this fired-up crowd. The players love that! We will put plasters on our wounds and try and get a player back to fitness because things are building up on the injury front, particularly in defence. 

With the team finding itself 2-0 down at half-time, Gasset was wary of keeping morale high at the break, stressing the importance of staying in the tie and the second leg to come: 

“In European competition, we don’t control away games nearly as well as we do games at home. With the energy of the crowd, the effort of the players, maybe we will employ more offensive tactics. We’ll need to play a near perfect game to get through to the next round.”

Marseille have the benefit of a break from Ligue 1 action this weekend, allowing the focus to turn to next Thursday’s second leg immediately. Gasset will hope that his players draw inspiration from the way they worked themselves back into contention in a difficult first leg away from home. 

GFFN | Jack McArdle


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