Good evening, why did you opt for this 5-3-2 system this evening?
Gennaro Gattuso: “Because when you lose Kondogbia and Rongier… You have other profiles. If you remember correctly, I said that at the moment, my ego, my footballing beliefs, I put them aside. We studied Lyon, we thought that, with the three central players, we were going to have the ball, always be aggressive. We wanted to use width. The right piston and the left piston could give us numerical superiority, and the thing was made for that. I have to thank the players because yesterday they weren’t 100% convinced and it’s the match we were waiting for“.
When we know who is absent, is it the perfect evening, are your players confident, do you now have several systems?
GG: “I think, right now, I’m happy. The game against Ajax, we were very happy. It was a good game, but with a lot of mistakes. We won against Rennes, but it wasn’t as good as today. Tonight, I loved the spirit, I loved the will. It’s true that against Ajax, we tried to play aggressive, to go one on one, but not today. We were always two against one in the defensive phase. I liked the spirit, I liked the attention. I am happy with the performance of everyone, of all the attackers who did an incredible job, of Murillo, who is a boy that I have always used in chaotic situations, and who does very important things, both on the right and ‘to the left. Last night we lost Clauss, who was sick, who spent the night vomiting, he had food poisoning. I think at this point we need to continue on this path. We have 4 games left to play. I think the most important thing now is to rest and give our best in these 4 matches. Compliments again to the boys as they were truly exceptional.“
Can this scheme be a long-term solution?
GG: “We’ll see. If we were sure of winning all the matches, I would always play 3, no problem. We see the teams we face, how they play. It’s not easy, I repeat. Preparing for this match yesterday was not easy. I repeat, the players did not seem convinced. But we worked two days, we studied Lyon, we went there determined to use this diagram. We were convinced that we could put Lyon in difficulty. I took on many responsibilities. But we insisted, we chose to die this way, and today we were rewarded. We are going to study Lorient, we haven’t done it yet. There is Brighton which we know, then Montpellier… It all depends on the way the opponents play and if we cannot play in 3-5-2, we will play differently. It’s too simplistic to say that we won thanks to the game system. We must congratulate the players.”
Can you tell us about the Aubameyang-Vitinha attacking duo?
GG: “I think Vitinha brought a lot on a physical level. He is a player who attacks deep and this allows Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang to move a little to the side. Several times, we saw him playing on the left side. So, this allowed us to vary a little, and it’s difficult for opposing defenders to follow these players because we don’t necessarily know where they are going to be on the pitch. There is one player who comes to get the ball and the other who dives behind it, so that brought us a lot. Even when he loses duels, Vitinha has incredible physical strength. We see it with his ability to play in the break, to sprint in depth. That’s what I told the team before the match in the locker room, I said that these two players were going to be the most important players, the players who could make the difference. One player who comes to get the ball and the other who dives behind it.“
For the first time in a long time, the stadium was not full. Is it a goal to fill it again?
GG: “Over the last three matches, we brought in 180,000 spectators! For me, it’s full. What more do we want? There were perhaps 2000 or 3000 people missing, it’s not noticeable and there is a very nice atmosphere. These 3 victories give us a little breathing room, but we haven’t done anything yet. I don’t know if I can say this, if it’s offensive in France, but we ate a lot of shit (sic). We can’t forget that. And three victories are not many. We must continue to work seriously and try to prepare match after match. Don’t think we’ve solved our problems. Our problems are resolved when we have continuity of services and results. But, as I told my team, we must not forget what we experienced.“
After Strasbourg, things weren’t going well at all. Three games later, is it much better?
GG: “It’s part of the job at OM. I am 45 years old, I was born on January 9 and I am 46 years old. I was born with pressure. I had pressure as a player, and I know that as a coach the pressure is much greater. And even more here in Marseille. There was a negative moment, and I don’t know if we are really healed. Because unfortunately we suffered against Ajax. Against Rennes also in the first half. But the team put in the heart and the courage. But the pressure is right here, in Marseille. Because when you are in a club like Marseille, you always have pressure. I said it before, 180,000 people in 3 matches, it’s normal that there is pressure.“
These three won matches still provide certainty, but how can we confirm outside now?
GG : “If I had the answer, I would give it to you. It’s going to take a click because indeed, we’ve had negative results away from home. And if we think that the matches last 45 minutes, that’s not sufficient. So, we have to find continuity in terms of performance and mentality. Everyone often thinks about the technical aspect, the quality of passes, etc… But I think that Ligue 1 is played a lot on duels, being very strong one-on-one. I think that tonight, at times, we could have been even better in being a little meaner, a little more intelligent and clever.”
Any news from Kondogbia?
GG: “I’m not 100% sure about the next match against Lorient. I will have more information to provide you with on this during the press conference. I will take stock with the medical staff. And I also wanted to congratulate Pape (Gueye), after 4 months of remote work, he had this joy, he had this possibility and let’s hope now that he will no longer sign two contracts at the same time“.
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