AVB gone, fans rioting and Ntcham: What is going on at Marseille?

Marseille is a club in turmoil.

Their coach Andre Villas-Boas said on Tuesday that he had offered his resignation, citing a disagreement over the Ligue 1 club’s sporting policy, and has now left the club in acrimonious fashion.

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Marseille signed midfielder Olivier Ntcham from Celtic on transfer deadline day, but the former Chelsea boss told reporters he had informed the club he did not want him brought in.

Some fans broke into the club’s training centre on Saturday amid protests against president Jacques-Henri Eyraud.

Marseille, who were knocked out in the group stage of the Champions League after finishing second in the league last season, are ninth in Ligue 1 and 16 points behind leaders Lille with two games in hand.

With the French club in a toxic state, how did it get this bad and what does the future hold now Villas-Boas has left? We asked Eurosport France’s Cyril Morin all about it.

What was Villas-Boas’ relationship like with the club president?

Not great if you want the polite answer. Awful, if we are honest. Last summer, when president Eyraud decided to fire sporting director Andoni Zubizarreta, who was the one that brought AVB to Marseille, Villas-Boas was already very close to leaving.

The fact that his players were supporting him and that the Champions League was at stake made him stay. But his relationship with Eyraud was in really bad shape after that. Today, he explained that he has “a lot of respect for Jacque-Henri Eyraud” etc., but “they attempted to disrespect my professionalism, I can’t let that pass”.

Andre Villas-Boas

Image credit: Getty Images

What have been the reasons for Marseille’s poor form this campaign?

Villas-Boas admitted that “talking about results, that’s my fault”. Last year, they managed to finish second in the league thanks to the suspension due to Covid-19, but all their matches last year weren’t that great.

Dimitri Payet, who was on fire last year, saved them in a lot of situations. The players were so passionate about AVB that he decided to stay. But there were few big reinforcements in the summer transfer window and they looked out of their depth in the Champions League. That sunk the team’s confidence but also raised the fans’ expectations. The star players aren’t at the required level right now (Payet and Thauvin, mostly) and it looks like this group lacks character. Also, the absence of the fans could explain their poor performances. In a full Stade Velodrome, you can’t behave like the players have in their most recent games.

Why is president Eyraud disliked so much? We saw the protests at the weekend…

He represents the disconnect from the fans. Every time he speaks, he looks like a modern ‘président directeur general’ but he is never really focusing on football or what the club means to the fans.

As an example, in December, in a seminar, he talked about the “danger and the risk” of having fans of the club as employees. It may seem normal for entrepreneurs to talk like that but when you are president of OM, you can’t say that. Every speech he makes is always about the football of the future, the importance of being trendy but rarely about the team itself.

WATCH: Footage of Marseille fans storming training ground

He was the main target of what happened on Saturday. And his response was considered aggressive amongst many supporters.

He said: “There are two visions that are in conflict now. There’s a vision of the OM we know, which have done great things, won titles, known a lot of success, but also the one including chaos, the one who knew 20 coaches in 20 years.

“We are trying to develop a transparent OM, an open OM, an OM that can’t accept this behaviour.”

What was Villas-Boas’ motivation for wanting to leave Marseille so badly?

He was tired of this club and seemed to be desperate to leave. He tendered his resignation a few weeks ago, after a loss at home against Nimes. It seemed that he was seeking the exit door. It looked like he couldn’t really influence his team any longer, and with his communication he lost some of the big players. But his issue with the club’s overall direction was clearly the main reason.

Now AVB has quit who might be his replacement?

Ernesto Valverde and Lucien Favre were mentioned in recent days but they reportedly turned down offers. And it’s hard to believe that OM could afford either of them. So we don’t know yet. What we were sure about was that AVB was going to leave. There was no chance he could stay after that press conference.

Why didn’t he like Olivier Ntcham?

Nothing personal I guess. He was just not the player he chose to replace Morgan Sanson. He explained that he said no to his profile during the press conference and learned that he was coming to OM through the press. So, for him, that was too much to accept.

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'Serious damage' – Marseille slam AVB as they sack coach after row

Marseille coach Andre Villas-Boas has been sacked by the club after offering to resign earlier in the day, citing a disagreement over the Ligue 1 club’s sporting policy.

“I submitted my resignation saying that I did not agree with the sporting policy. I don’t want anything from OM. I don’t want money,” Villas Boas told a news conference earlier on Tuesday.

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Villas-Boas says he will leave Marseille at end of season

29/01/2021 AT 13:43

Villas-Boas, who said last week he would leave when his contract expired at the end of the season, said at the time he not heard back from the board yet. But now he has.

The statement read: “Olympique de Marseille announces the dismissal of André Villas-Boas.

“This protective decision had become inevitable given the recent repetition of his actions and attitudes which are seriously damaging to the Marseille institution and it’s employees who defend it daily.

The comments made today at a press conference with regard to Pablo Longoria, director general in charge of football, are unacceptable. Its exceptional investment cannot be called into question and was on the contrary welcomed by all during this winter transfer window marked by an unprecedented crisis. Any sanctions will be taken against André Villas-Boas following a disciplinary procedure.

“The board has not answered to me yet. What happened last weekend has nothing to do with it,” the Portuguese said earlier in the day, referring to Saturday’s incidents in Marseille, where some fans broke into the club’s training centre amid protests against president Jacques-Henri Eyraud.

I’m waiting for an answer, it could be no and then we would continue. I don’t want any money, I just want to leave.

“We ended the transfer window with a new player (Olivier Ntcham from Celtic). He is a player that I had said no for,” Villas-Boas added.

WATCH: Footage of Marseille fans storming training ground

Villas-Boas stunned reporters last week when he said he would leave Marseille at the end of the Ligue 1 season in a routine pre-match press conference.

Marseille, who were knocked out in the group stage of the Champions League, are ninth in Ligue 1 and 16 points behind leaders Lille with two games in hand.

Additional reporting from Reuters.

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Villas-Boas offers to leave Marseille after club sign Ntcham

Marseille coach Andre Villas-Boas said on Tuesday that he had offered his resignation, citing a disagreement over the Ligue 1 club’s sporting policy.

“I submitted my resignation saying that I did not agree with the sporting policy. I don’t want anything from OM. I don’t want money,” Villas Boas told a news conference.

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Villas-Boas says he will leave Marseille at end of season

29/01/2021 AT 13:43

Villas-Boas, who said last month he would leave when his contract expired at the end of the season, said he had not heard back from the board yet.

“The board has not answered to me yet. What happened last weekend has nothing to do with it,” the Portuguese said, referring to Saturday’s incidents in Marseille, where some fans broke into the club’s training centre amid protests against president Jacques-Henri Eyraud.

I’m waiting for an answer, it could be no and then we would continue. I don’t want any money, I just want to leave.

“We ended the transfer window with a new player (Olivier Ntcham from Celtic). He is a player that I had said no for,” Villas-Boas added.

WATCH: Footage of Marseille fans storming training ground

Villas-Boas stunned reporters last week when he said he would leave Marseille at the end of the Ligue 1 season in a routine pre-match press conference.

Marseille, who were knocked out in the group stage of the Champions League, are ninth in Ligue 1 and 16 points behind leaders Lille with two games in hand.

Additional reporting from Reuters.

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Neymar confirms desire to stay at Paris Saint-Germain

Neymar has expressed a desire to extend his stay at Paris Saint-Germain.

The Brazilian’s future at the club has been a hot topic of debate ever since he made the shock move to the French capital in 2017.

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A return to Barcelona has been regularly talked about, and he has said on occasions that he would be open to heading back to the Camp Nou.

However, there has been a shift in thinking around the Brazilian and he has expressed a desire to remain at PSG – and hopes French superstar Kylian Mbappe also commits his future to the club.

“I’m very happy here and I want to stay at PSG and I hope Mbappe wants to stay too,” he said in an interview with TF1.

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“Of course, that’s the wish of all fans, we want PSG to be a great team and I want to keep doing what I do here, play football and be happy.

Today I’m very happy, I feel happy. A lot has changed, I can’t exactly say why, if it’s me or something else.

Neymar scored twice for PSG on Sunday, but those goals were not enough to prevent the Ligue 1 champions from slipping to a 3-2 defeat to Lorient.

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PSG miss out on top spot with shock Lorient defeat

Paris Saint-Germain missed out on an opportunity to move top of Ligue 1 after they conceded a last-gasp 3-2 defeat at lowly Lorient, their first loss in nine competitive games and the first for new coach Mauricio Pochettino.

The French champions went ahead on Sunday thanks to two Neymar penalties after Laurent Abergel’s opener, only for the hosts to equalise with 10 minutes remaining through Yoane Wissa and wrap it up in stoppage time courtesy of a Terem Moffi goal.

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PSG have 45 points from 22 games and trail Lille – who beat Dijon 1-0 – by three points. Lyon who beat Bordeaux 2-1 on Friday, split the two on 46 points.

Lorient are now 18th on 18 points.

PSG were without Marco Verratti and Abdou Diallo, who have been isolating after testing positive for coronavirus and the Italian midfielder’s absence was felt.

The hosts went ahead against the run of play when Abergel dispossessed Danilo Pereira, who was standing in for Verratti, and fired the ball under the crossbar with a cross shot in the 36th minute.

PSG, however, hit back on the stroke of half-time as Neymar converted a penalty after being brought down by Houboulang Mendes.

Mendes was at fault again, on Mauro Icardi this time, as PSG won another penalty, which was again coolly converted by Neymar in the 58th minute.

WATCH: Footage of Marseille fans storming training ground

But Lorient levelled with 10 minutes left when Wissa fired past Sergio Rico after a one-two with Moffi.

Moffi then bagged all three points for Lorient after beating the offside trap for his fifth goal in his last five matches as PSG lost in the league for the first time in eight games.

Their last defeat was a 1-0 loss to Lyon in Ligue 1 on Dec. 13.

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Marseille fans 'storm training ground' ahead of Rennes game

Some Olympique de Marseille fans stormed into the team’s training ground hours before a Ligue 1 game against Stade Rennais as they protested against the club’s officials, French multimedia outlet RMC Sport reported on Saturday.

RMC Sport reported some 150-200 supporters tried to break into the Robert Louis Dreyfus centre.

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Footage on RMC Sport’s twitter feed showed some of the fans forcing their way in. Some were seen throwing flares and lighting firecrackers.

The outlet published footage of fans marching in the streets and carrying banners reading “(Club) directors, out”, as well as others directly targeting OM president Jacques-Henri Eyraud.

It then reported the situation had calmed down, without elaborating. OM were not immediately available for comment.

Earlier in the day, St Étienne’s training session was interrupted by 300 supporters who came to apply pressure to the team following their humiliating 5-0 derby defeat to Lyon ahead of their clash against OGC Nice on Sunday.

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Marseille game postponed after fans 'storm training ground'

Some Olympique de Marseille fans stormed into the team’s training ground hours before a Ligue 1 game against Stade Rennais as they protested against the club’s officials, with Saturday’s fixture subsequently postponed.

RMC Sport reported some 150-200 supporters tried to break into the Robert Louis Dreyfus centre.

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Footage on RMC Sport’s twitter feed showed some of the fans forcing their way in. Some were seen throwing flares and lighting firecrackers.

WATCH: Footage of Marseille fans storming training ground

The outlet published footage of fans marching in the streets and carrying banners reading “(Club) directors, out”, as well as others directly targeting OM president Jacques-Henri Eyraud.

It then reported the situation had calmed down, without elaborating. OM were not immediately available for comment.

Earlier in the day, St Étienne’s training session was interrupted by 300 supporters who came to apply pressure to the team following their humiliating 5-0 derby defeat to Lyon ahead of their clash against OGC Nice on Sunday.

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Lyon grab top spot with last-gasp win over Bordeaux

Olympique Lyonnais moved top of the Ligue 1 standings when Leo Dubois struck in injury time to snatch a 2-1 home victory over Girondins de Bordeaux on Friday.

Bordeaux’s Samuel Kalu cancelled out Karl Toko-Ekambi’s first-half opener before Dubois pounced two minutes into added time to put Lyon on 46 points from 22 games, one ahead of Paris St Germain and Lille who play on Sunday.

The result left Bordeaux in seventh place on 32 points.

PSG travel to Lorient and Lille host Dijon.

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Mbappe 'fully committed' to PSG, says Pochettino

Paris Saint-Germain coach Mauricio Pochettino has expressed confidence that Kylian Mbappe will remain at the club.

The French forward has been persistently linked with Real Madrid, and with 18 months remaining on his contract, PSG need to thrash out fresh terms or risk losing him in a free transfer in 2022.

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Mbappe appeared on the cover of Spanish daily Marca on Thursday, with the splash saying Real were waiting for a sign from the forward.

Pochettino is aware of the reports, but said he is confident Mbappe will remain at the club.

“There’s lots of rumours, but I see him remaining at PSG for a long time to come and that’s what the club wants,” the Argentine coach told Marca.

“We have him in our plans for all the time that we’re going to be at the club.

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“Granted he needs to make a decision (on his future), but what we see is someone who is very happy here and fully committed to the sporting project at this club.

It’s both a challenge and a slice of luck for a coach to work with these kind of talents, they make you a much better coach.”

PSG have been linked with a move for Barcelona superstar Lionel Messi, but Pochettino was giving nothing away on that issue.

“Whatever I say about that situation, it’ll be misinterpreted and I am very happy with what I’ve got here,” he said. “The best players can fit into any team in any league in the world.”

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