André Villas-Boas has hinted Olympique de Marseille may need to sign a striker in January. OM are aiming to extend their four-match Ligue 1 Uber Eats winning streak when they play at Nîmes on Friday evening.
NIMES - MARSEILLE
(kick-off at 20:00 GMT on Friday evening)
Villas-Boas was asked in the pre-match press conference to assess Marseille's summer transfer dealings and the Portuguese admitted: "We didn't sign a genuine number nine, and we made a mistake because Luis Henrique is not the player to play in that position. We might need to do something in January."
Luis Henrique, the 18-year-old Brazilian, joined from Botafogo at the end of September and has only made one start in all competitions for his new club, in the 2-0 home defeat to Porto in the Champions League last month. Villas-Boas added: "Luis will bring a lot to us, and I need to give him a bit of time so that he comes into the team bit by bit."
Germain competing with Benedetto
Marseille ended a 13-match Champions League losing streak by coming from behind to beat Olympiacos 2-1 on Tuesday at the Orange Vélodrome. Dimitri Payet scored both OM goals from the penalty spot - his first Champions League strikes - and there was a notable improvement in Marseille's play in the second half after Valère Germain replaced Dario Benedetto in attack.
Villas-Boas commented: "Valère is always available. He's a player who gives everything and who loves OM. In any position, at any time when I bring him on, he gives his all. Both he and Dario are goalscorers, and I'm starting to have more confidence in Valère. Maybe they are more in competition with each other than they were at the start of the season."
OM are unbeaten in their last 13 league away games, the longest such run in the five major European leagues, and should be confident at Stade des Costières given Nîmes have lost five of their last six league matches. Should Marseille win the two games they have in hand then they'll go top of the table as they attempt to get in the mix to win the league for the first time since 2010.
AVB: "We need to be there"
Earlier this week, Villas-Boas said: "Before everybody starts saying OM are candidates for the title, I want to state that in the case that PSG don't manage to retain their title, then we need to be there to make the most of it. This season things are a bit more unpredictable and we need to take advantage of that. We need to keep performing and be competitive."
Before the winter break OM will host Monaco and go to Rennes and Villas-Boas said: "I hope to see things a bit more clearly after Monaco and Rennes. Those are matches against direct rivals in order to try to shake up the league standings."
Nîmes - 16th on 11 points - are without defenders Birger Meling (knee) and Pablo Martinez (buttocks), while Anthony Briançon (knee) is doubtful and forward Karim Aribi (thigh) is definitely out. Midfielder Lucas Deaux is suspended after being sent off in the 3-0 loss to Monaco. Coach Jérôme Arpinon said: "We're in phase with where we expected to be in terms of the number of points we've got. We need to try to get a little run going and the aim is to pick up points. It's not the time to be pessimistic: if we see the dark side of everything, then we'll never be able to get our heads right."
Nîmes: (to follow)
Marseille: (to follow)