In the history of Olympique Marseille’s “game”, we especially remember the skippers and coaches who brought results, and the combination of the two was ultimately quite rare. Why ? Because here, we mostly retain the one who made us win before discussing his tactical plans. Among the select few, figure prominently Eric Gerets, arrived in 2007 at the head of an OM 19 on matchday 13, and has chained two seasons with the Champions at stake. An immense performance, like the charisma of a character that fans still appreciate today. In terms of the game, we obviously kept his famous diamond-shaped medium, or rather “diamond” as he called it, even if it wasn’t necessarily his preferred pattern, as he explains at length to Phocéen Mag. Interview with an eternal master of the game of the game. Marseilles:
Eric, what was your tactical plan when you arrived in Marseille?
Eric Gerets: “It was quite an offensive tactic where I asked all the players to participate in lifting the ball. I also and above all demanded a lot of intensity in the duels, because that is how you pick up the balls and limit the opponent’s possibilities. I particularly insisted on second balls, because many times the chances come from there. We couldn’t have results without a collective effort and a positive state of mind, that’s what I tried to create as soon as I arrived. “
And what was your preferential scheme?
E.G : “My basic organization was 4-2-3-1, but I often alternated with a 4-4-2 diamond depending on the players I had, and also against opponents. In the first case, I lined up two number sixes and one ten. in playmaker, as I have done more often in my career, and in the case of the diamond, I put Cana in six and two attacking midfielders higher like Nasri and Cheyrou, and Valbuena in the middle. Riskier option, but I could count with a good defense. The four-zone defense was my base, with density on the axis and total freedom for them. Offensive players. As long as they try hard anyway, huh! “
Do you remember your type eleven?
E.G : “Yes, with some differences depending on the time, but I would stay: Mandanda – Bonnart, Civelli, Hilton, Taiwo – Cana, Cheyrou – Ziani, Nasri, Valbuena – Niang. And of course there were variations.”
Where do your tactical bases come from? Is there a coach who has marked you?
E.G : “When I started as a professional at Standard de Liège, the one who coached the player that he was was called Vlatko Markovic. I was a forward at the beginning and he made me a full-back. I learned tactically and became an international. Later, I learned from all my coaches, and I also saw a lot of what was done abroad. From the beginning I always defended an aggressive and offensive football, and thus I won my first titles with Lierse and Bruges against the giants of Anderlecht and Standard. This is even more true with PSV Eindhoven , where I played a large part of my career, and with Galatasaray ”.
How did you set up your game when you came to OM?
E.G : “The first thing I did was look at the individual qualities of the players in the squad. Then I observed their behavior in the squad and then I chose the right style. As I told you, mentality and commitment are very important, but the strength of a team It comes, for me, 95% of the quality of the players that you have. Average players motivated, but it can not go very far. “
Is it with this observational work that he turned a dying OM into a superior team in Ligue 1?
E.G : “Let’s say that I certainly managed to trigger a click in this group. With my staff, we were able to maintain this click for two seasons. You have to be able to keep the players alert, and I think my good relationship with them allowed I also had a lot of trust in my assistant and friend Dominique Cuperly, a true technician and above all a loyal assistant. It is not the assistant who thinks about occupying the place of number one, because it is a role that he did not do. I do not want. He was there to help me. “
We judge a coach by his results, but also today by the game he offers. Is it a good thing?
E.G : “I think the Marseille fans gave them the answer in my time. If they appreciated, I think, my time in OM, it is because the results were there, but also because we have produced a very good quality football. We qualified the team for the League of Champions every year and we almost ended up being the champions right before I left. All this while putting on a good show, I think. I have been told that I am still one of the favorite coaches of the Marseille fans today. If we hadn’t “You didn’t offer a good game, they would have forgotten me by now, right? “
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