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'Stronger together' - Garcia calls for OM unity

Publish on 16/01/2019 at 00:00 - S. WILLIS

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Under-fire Olympique de Marseille coach Rudi Garcia has called for unity at the club and asked his side to build on Sunday's draw with AS Monaco as they take on AS Saint-Etienne in Wednesday's rearranged game.

AS Saint-Etienne  -  Olympique de Marseille

Marseille head to the Stade Geoffroy-Guichard for a match that was initially supposed to be played in early December. They do so having failed to win in eight games in all competitions since a 3-1 vcitory at Amiens SC in late November. However, Garcia insists he took plenty of encouragement from the way his side played in drawing 1-1 with struggling Monaco at the weekend.

"Away from home, at Saint-Etienne, we are coming up against a good side. But we are also a good side. Saint-Etienne have lots of quality, especially at Geoffroy-Guichard, but like all teams they have weaknesses too. It will be up to us to exploit them. I think we can take a lot from Sunday's game and try to get a better result this time," said Garcia.

Saint-Etienne have won their last three games in all competitions, all without conceding a goal, and are the only Ligue 1 Conforama side apart from Paris Saint-Germain still unbeaten at home this season - Jean-Louis Gasset's team have won seven and drawn two of their nine games at Le Chaudron.

Marseille start the day in ninth place, but still within touching distance of the European places. Garcia's biggest concern just now, however, seems to be getting the fans behind him and his players again after they were greeted by an openly hostile atmosphere at the weekend.

Striking problems

"We are stronger when we are all together, that is obvious. On Sunday, we had to play while part of our support were against us, and were even encouraging Monaco. That is difficult to live with, for our confidence, for the players, and that is why I take my hat off to them."

Marseille may again line up in Saint-Etienne without a recognised centre-forward, with Valère Germain and Kostas Mitroglou continuing to struggle for form and the club still hoping to sign a new striker before the January transfer window closes. Despite their difficulties, Garcia tried to offer some encouragement to his strike duo.

He said: "All 26 players I have are important. But it is also up to them to show me they should be on the pitch, via their performances, both in training and in matches. Valère and Kostas both need a goal. They need to be capable of scoring in the time they have on the pitch. That is the only thing that will do them good."

Probable teams

Saint-Etienne: Ruffier; Saliba, Perrin (c), Kolodziejczak; Monnet-Paquet, Selnaes, M'Vila, Gabriel Silva; Cabella; Hamouma, Khazri

Marseille: Mandanda; Sarr, Rolando, Luiz Gustavo, Amavi; Lopez, Strootman, Sanson; Thauvin, Ocampos, Payet (c)