Coach José Anigo has been rewarded for guiding Olympique de Marseille into the semi-finals of the UEFA Cup with an extended contract until June 2005.
Anigo, a player at the Vélodrome between 1979 and 1987, was appointed for the remainder of the season in January following the dismissal of Alain Perrin. He has impressed the Marseille players and board with his acumen, particularly in Europe where the French side have defeated FC Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk, Liverpool FC and, last night, FC Internazionale.
Having beaten Inter 1-0 at home, Marseille repeated that result at the San Siro on Wednesday to advance to a semi-final against Newcastle United FC. Speaking after the second-leg victory, Marseille chairman Christophe Bouchet said: "The decision to renew José Anigo's contract was taken last week - qualification did not dictate this.
"I told José that I would officially announce it at a suitable time - I believe that this is such a time.
Anigo has created something special in the dressing room, there is a strong bond between him and the players." The news will no doubt be the best present Anigo receives today - his 43rd birthday.
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