Garcia talks up 'top attacker' Thauvin
By D. Crossan
Olympique de Marseille has talked up "top attacker" Florian Thauvin ahead of taking his side to Amiens on Sunday evening in Ligue 1 Conforama.
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OM were heavily criticised in the French press for their failure to sign a centre-forward of renown in the summer transfer window. Garcia entered the season with Kostas Mitroglou and Valère Germain as his frontline forwards and both have been in indifferent form, managing three league goals apiece this term. At home to PSG, Garcia resorted to using captain Dimitri Payet as a false nine. The one ultra-reliable source of goals in Marseille's ranks is Thauvin. The 25-year-old World Cup winner has weighed in with seven so far this league season, following up on his phenomenal 22-goal haul of 2017-2018.
Garcia told RMC Sport: "Flo is our top attacker, the player in the team who scores goals and he doesn't need to be playing in the centre of the pitch in order to achieve that. He's an extraordinary player with so much talent. That he's progressed so much in these past few years is above all down to him. He's a lad who is intelligent and takes on board advice. All I do is accompany his progress.
Garcia: Thauvin is "an extraordinary player"
"If we had the season we had last season it was because he blew up the goal counter. Now that he's a world champion he needs to keep the same quality in his work and stay humble. He lifts the squad upwards and when he's not there we lack something. He's doing a lot better now because he's over some small physical problems, notably to his foot. He's got superb stats this season and he's going to keep climbing, just like OM."
OM spent much of the summer being linked to Nice forward Mario Balotelli and Garcia said: "I don't think the Balotelli dossier was badly dealt with. In fact, it was very well dealt with. The opportunity was there but I didn't think it was our priority in terms of recruitment. I didn't think it was reasonable to give in to certain financial demands."
So will OM be in the market for a centre-forward in January? Garcia said: "I don't especially want to sign a forward. We're looking at things now. Mitroglou and Germain need confidence and we need to give them the chance to shine. It's also down to them to do better. I believe in the pair of them."
OM entered Week 14 in sixth place in the table, three points out of the top three following a win over Dijon that put an end to a winless sequence of five matches in all competitions. Amiens, in their second season of top division football, started the weekend in 16th place, two points above the bottom three.
Amiens' Gouano boost
Amiens are set to receive a major boost with the return of their influential captain Prince Gouano, who has made a quicker than expected recovery from tearing his hamstring at Toulouse on November 10. Gouano's return is even more timely as Khaled Adenon is suspended on Sunday, having collected three yellow cards in under 10 matches.
Amiens coach Christophe Pelissier was handed a pay rise after keeping the club in Ligue 1 Conforama but is out of contract at the end of the season, a situation that doesn't worry president Bernard Joanin, who told L'Equipe last month: "It's just like with your wife. You mustn't worry about them leaving. I prefer to have a beautiful and desirable wide than the opposite. I'm proud to have a coach people are looking at. It's down to me to give him reason to stay. If he can see that the club is continuing to progress then I'm sure he'll stay."
Amiens: Gurtner (c); Krafth, Bodmer, Dibassy, Lefort; Monconduit, Blin; Otero, Ganso, Gnahoré; Ghoddos
Marseille: Mandanda; Rami, Rolando, Sakai; Sarr, Lopez, Strootman, Ocampos; Payet (c); Thauvin, Njie