Olympique de Marseille coach Igor Tudor insists his side will not give up in the fight for automatic Champions League qualification despite Saturday’s 2-1 defeat away to LOSC Lille seriously damaging their chances of finishing second.
“We are sad because we wanted to win the game and we had chances, but so did they. We are disappointed but we have to accept it,” Tudor said after Lille came from behind to beat his side at the Stade Pierre-Mauroy.
Marseille remain third in the table and are two points behind second-placed RC Lens with two games left. Lens can extend that gap when they go to FC Lorient on Sunday.
“As long as it remains possible we will keep trying, but whatever happens we have had a good season,” said Tudor, whose team end the season with games at home to Stade Brestois 29 and away to AC Ajaccio.
‘Character and ambition’ from Lille
Meanwhile Lille took a step closer to clinching a top-five finish and European qualification of their own. Jonathan David equalised for LOSC with a penalty to cancel out a Jonathan Clauss opener, the goal his 22nd of the season in Ligue 1. Jonathan Bamba then headed in the winner for Paulo Fonseca’s team, who unexpectedly lined up in a 4-3-3 formation with an inexperienced back line.
“We changed our system because we needed to block Marseille in the wide areas, where they are really strong,” said Fonseca. “I think the system helped us to do that. It is difficult to play against Marseille with their man-to-man marking. We played with Bafodé (Diakité) and Leny (Yoro), who is just 17, in central defence. (Timothy) Weah is not a right-back, and Ismaily had to come off injured. Despite that the team played with character and ambition.”
He added: “It is an important victory but there are still two matches left and we need to turn our attentions to Nantes now.”