The official website for European football

Anigo thrilled by meteoric rise

Published: Friday 7 May 2004, 0.38CET
José Anigo struggled to hide his emotions after guiding Olympique de Marseille to the final.
Published: Friday 7 May 2004, 0.38CET

Anigo thrilled by meteoric rise

José Anigo struggled to hide his emotions after guiding Olympique de Marseille to the final.

By Matthew Spiro in Marseille

Olympique de Marseille coach José Anigo struggled to hide his emotions after seeing his team reach the UEFA Cup final just four months after he arrived in the post.

Proud moment
After a goalless first leg at St James' Park, it took two Didier Drogba goals in front of a euphoric crowd at the Stade Vélodrome to fire Marseille into the final where they will meet Valencia CF in Gothenburg. For Anigo, who first joined Marseille as a 14-year-old, the evening represented one of happiest moments of his career. "My emotions are so strong right now, I'm afraid that I'm unable to put them into words," said the 43-year-old.

Think again
"Three months ago I was training the youth team, now I'm taking Marseille to a European final," added the coach, who, after masterminding wins against Liverpool FC and FC Internazionale, believes he has answered his critics. "A lot of people didn't think I could handle such a big job. They might be thinking again now."

French double
Marseille's victory came just 24 hours after AS Monaco FC booked their place in the UEFA Champions League final, leaving open the possibility of a French double in Europe, and Anigo was keen to pay tribute to his counterpart Didier Deschamps. "I'd love to speak to him and congratulate him because what Monaco have achieved is phenomenal. Now we both have to go and bring the trophies home."

Usual suspect
As has been the case so often this season, Drogba was Marseille's hero. The Ivory Coast striker, who has now scored against every opponent he has faced in Europe this season and has eleven goals in all, broke the deadlock with a clinical breakaway strike after 18 minutes before rifling home a second eight minutes from time.

'Clever player'
Newcastle manager Sir Bobby Robson claimed Drogba was the difference between the sides, saying: "He was the matchwinner. He had two clear chances and scored two goals. He's a very clever player and I am happy to hold my hands up and congratulate him."

High praise
Sir Bobby admitted the result was a bitter disappointment but refused to criticise his players, saying: "They did everything I asked of them. They played with enthusiasm and commitment and they were close to pulling it off. Two-nil is a flattering scoreline for Marseille. We were excellent after half-time and put them under real pressure. Marseille were nervous at 1-0 and if Shola [Ameobi] or Lee [Bowyer] had taken those chances, I think we'd have done it."

Lasting impression
Newcastle winger Laurent Robert said he was impressed by Marseille. "They went at it 100 per cent and just didn't let up," the Frenchman told uefa.com. "Their fans were incredible and in the end we couldn't do it. I ran my socks off tonight, as did the whole side, and to miss out after being so close to the final really hurts."

No fear
The Marseille players, meanwhile, are turning their attentions to Gothenburg, and defender Habib Beye insisted they will take on Valencia without fear. "They could soon be crowned Spanish champions so they are obviously a top side," he said. "But we have already taken three big scalps, why not make it four?"

World class
Midfield player Laurent Batlles, who came off the bench to set up Drogba's second, added: "In Drogba we've got one of the best players in the world. He's won the match for us tonight and I hope he goes to Sweden and wins us the final, too."

Last updated: 10/05/04 15.49CET

Related information

Team profiles
Related match
  • SSI Err

http://www.uefa.com/news/newsid=175781.html#anigo+thrilled+meteoric+rise

UEFA.com features

What teams need to get through
  • What teams need to get through
  • Watch the five best acrobatic Champions League goals
  • Ones to watch in the group stage
  • Masterclass: Xavi on passing and control
  • Newcomers ready for Champions League debuts
  • Pick of the Week of Football
  • Berezovski and Frick join Europe's 40-somethings
  • Europe's all-time top international goalscorers
  • Introducing football in Gibraltar ...
  • Given has 'unfinished business' with Ireland
1 of 10
  • © 1998-2014 UEFA. All rights reserved.
  • The UEFA word, the UEFA logo and all marks related to UEFA competitions, are protected by trade marks and/or copyright of UEFA. No use for commercial purposes may be made of such trade marks. Use of UEFA.com signifies your agreement to the Terms and Conditions and Privacy Policy.