OM captain Dimitri Payet is looking forward to getting stuck into the semi-finals after playing a starring role in his side's remarkable 5-2 (5-3 on aggregate) win over RB Leipzig in the UEFA Europa League quarters on Thursday.
Thursday, April 12, 2018
UEFA Europa League quarter-finals, second leg
Olympique de Marseille 5 - 2 RB Leipzig (OM through 5-3 on aggregate)
Dimitri Payet (Olympique de Marseille captain): "I said after the first leg that we would need our 12th man. The Vélodrome stepped up and this result, well we got it together. [When Leipzig opened the scoring] We told ourselves we had to score three goals. Their opening the scoring didn't change anything; actually it was rather good insofar as it came early on in the piece. It wasn't a set-back, because we were focused and knew what we needed to do. The goal was part of the game plan. I don't mean that we conceded it on purpose, but we did know what the qualities of this Leipzig side are. But we knew that if we could score three, four of five goals, we would qualify.
"Can we win the Europa League? We don't want to be pretentious. When you look at the teams left in the competition, there are teams left in it who are built to win the Champions League. We'll take things as they come. We're in the semis and that's great. The level is rising. We'll wait for the draw and then give it everything we have. Preferred opponents? Well, to make it an exciting occasion, I'd say Arsenal-Marseille in the semis would be very nice."
Rudi Garcia (Olympique de Marseille coach): "There was real joy out on the pitch; we communed with our fans and it was amazing - the Vélodrome in a state of fusion. An amazing night of European football. We were 1-0 down but showed that we have real talent in attack. We knew we need to score three and we did it. Then we went after it and scored a fourth and fifth - on Hiroki Sakai's birthday! We're happy and now we just need to wait to see which team fate will send us for the semis. [On captain and man of the match Dimitri Payet] He was brilliant and brought his teammates into play, setting up Flo [Thauvin] to score. He also took the corner from which we equalised. To win a European quarter-final 5-2, you need your whole team firing, and everyone was, with Dimitri pulling the strings."
Emil Forsberg (RB Leipzig midfielder): "That really hurts and it's a shame as we had a dream start to the match and had a place in the semis in our grasp - especially when we were lucky enough to score a second goal - but then we cracked again. Once again we committed too many fouls. We've conceded nine goals in two matches and that's not encouraging. No we need to turn the page and concentrate on the league, without forgetting the excellent run we have had in Europe."