Garcia aiming to seal fifth on farewell
Rudi Garcia's final match in charge of Olympique de Marseille is at home to Montpellier as OM attempt to secure fifth place in the table.
Montpellier are a point clear of OM going into the last round of matches and in previous seasons - with Paris Saint-Germain dominating the domestic Cup competitions - fifth and sixth place would have been enough for a European finish. Not so this campaign. Under pressure with OM having lost 13 Ligue 1 Conforama games this season and finishing outside of the top three for the sixth straight season, Garcia announced his departure on Wednesday.
Garcia: "I have decided to leave"
The former Roma coach said: "I have decided to leave. I proposed this solution to the president and he accepted it. If I just listened to my determination and my character then I would stay. But I listened to common sense and reason and I think that it's good to stop the adventure here… Over two-and-a-half years I have been part of the first act of the project. For the good of the project I think it's good that we part ways now, that I leave now."
It has been a tough season for OM and they are attempting to avoid making it three consecutive home league defeats for the first time since April 2012. Garcia conceded: "It has not been a good season and we are not where we would want to be. But the season is not catastrophic either. A catastrophic season is more like Monaco this season or Lille last season. I entirely assume my responsibility in the failure to get OM into the Champions League. I hope they qualify for the competition next season."
Payet: "We all have our share of reponsibility"
Club captain Dimitri Payet added: "We were informed of the coach's decision before coming to talk to the media. We are all disappointed and affected by this decision. It's easier to change a coach than 27 or 28 players. We all have our share of responsibility in what has happened. I know what I'll be doing next season. I'll be here and I hope to put in a better season."
Star striker Mario Balotelli is doubtful for Garcia's final game, having missed the 5-2 win at Toulouse last week with a muscular problem. Bouna Sarr (knee) is out and left-back Jordan Amavi is suspended. Garcia has a headache at centre-half too with Boubacar Kamara away at the Under-20s World Cup and World Cup winner Adil Rami having been unable to train during the early part of the week.
Der Zakarian: "We have had a good season"
Montpellier will finish in the top six for the first time since claiming their solitary Ligue 1 Conforama title in 2011-2012. There is still a tinge of disappointment at having missed out on a continental campaign as Saint-Etienne sealed fourth spot and Europa League qualification in Week 37.
MHSC boss Michel Der Zakarian explained: "We have had a good season, even if we are fifth. We'll fight in the last match at Marseille in order to hold onto fifth place. That's our objective and it is important to finish fifth. We had a bad spell in January-February that cost us a bit. It's also down to the yellow jackets as we had three weeks without playing and that penalised us. We have played with a lot of quality and played a lot of good games."
Marseille: Mandanda – Sakai, Caleta-Car, Luiz Gustavo, Hubocan – M.Lopez, M.Sanson – Thauvin, Payet (cap.), Ocampos – Balotelli
Montpellier: Lecomte – P.Mendes, Hilton (cap.), Congré – Aguilar, D.Le Tallec, Lasne, Oyongo – Sambia – Laborde, Delort