UEFA Champions League

Tudor: 'Long awaited'

Tudor: 'Long awaited'

UEFA Champions League
Publish on 10/05 at 10:00

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Olympique de Marseille boss Igor Tudor was a happy man after his side battled back from an early scare to dominate ten-man Sporting 4-1 and get right back into the mix in an ultra-open Champions League Group D.

Marseille may still be sitting at the foot of UCL Group D, but their rousing 4-1 win over leaders Sporting at the Orange Vélodrome on Tuesday leaves the just three points shy of the Portuguese side and just a point behind Frankfurt and Tottenham, who drew 0-0 Matchday 3.

So, following on from consecutive losses, Marseille have given themselves some precious breathing room and Tudor felt that it came down to team spirit - and thus wasn't inclined to focus on the individual exploits of Alexis Sanchez (13'), Amine Harit (16'), Leonardo Balerdi (28') and Chancel Mbemba (84'), all of whom found the target after Trincão had lashed home a first-minute opener (1') - and after Sporting 'keeper Antonio Adan had been sent off for handling outside the area.

'A very serious performance'

"After a game like that, I don't want to talk about individualities," said the Croat, whose side sit second in Ligue 1 Uber Eats, just two points shy of arch-rivals Paris Saint-Germain. "I think we played a very serious collective game. We had the strength after the goal we conceded to react and to attack hard as we had planned to. The red card made the rest of the game easier but I must congratulate my team, they gave a very serious performance."

Indeed, Marseille's last couple of Champions League campaigns have proven disappointing - in 2020-21, they lost five and won just once in the group stage, and the time before, in 2013-14, they failed to collect a single point.

'Courage and confidence'

"This victory gives us courage and confidence. It was long awaited. A victory in the Champions League has special value," Tudor declared. "We have played other great matches, like in Nice [in Round 4] but what matters is to progress and that's easier with victories. The return leg will be different, away from home, with their fans. It will be very difficult."

Marseille's next challenge comes in domestic action as they play host to Corsican promotees AC Ajaccio at the Orange Vélodrome at 17:00 on Saturday 8 October.