x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 19 January 2018

Gerets has lots to worry about

The Marseilles coach Eric Gerets has defensive worries ahead of Nantes visit.

PARIS // Olympique Marseille had been hoping to visit lowly Nantes as the lead leaders tomorrow, but instead head there with plenty of worries. They would have gone top with a home win over their arch- rivals Paris St Germain on Sunday, but the 4-2 reverse was their first league defeat of the season. Still second and now two points behind seven-times champions Lyon, Marseille failed to bounce back four days after a 2-0 defeat at PSV Eindhoven left them facing an early Champions League exit.

The Marseille coach Eric Gerets, whose team have conceded six goals from their last two outings, has defensive problems to solve - though they are the least of his worries. The Belgian must also address the temperamental France forward Hatem Ben Arfa, who was left out of the starting line-up for Sunday's match and refused to warm up when told to do so. Gerets, however, tried his best to stay positive. "We were hoping to go top and nearly did so but we're still second and still in a position to achieve our goals," he said.

"We were unhappy but I liked the mentality my players showed. I don't think our defence was bad, the goals came from set pieces." The consolation for Marseille is that Lyon have endured a run of three league matches without a win, though they will expect to end that run at the bottom club Sochaux tomorrow. * Reuters