Erik Gerets insisted his Olympique de Marseille side are "not through yet" despite a 3-0 win in the home leg of their UEFA Cup Round of 32 tie against FC Spartak Moskva last night.
Marseille scored for the 16th, 17th and 18th time in their last six matches as Spartak – playing their first competitive game since losing 2-1 at Toulouse FC in December – were taken apart with second-half goals from Benoît Cheyrou, Taye Taiwo and Mamadou Niang. However, Gerets was not getting carried away, saying: "We're not through yet. They will play to score early [in Moscow] and have proved that they could be a threat."
Spartak coach Stanislav Cherchesov's previous trip to Marseille also ended in heartbreak with the former goalkeeper seeing his side eliminated in the 1990/91 European Champion Clubs' Cup semi-finals. "Going through now won't be easy," he said. "We lacked a bit of luck with our early opportunities and in the second half we failed to maintain our pace. But we'll play to go through in the second leg."
'On a good one'
Having stuttered in the early part of the season despite a fine UEFA Champions League win at Liverpool FC, the only French club to have been European champions have been on an upward trajectory in recent months and are fifth in Ligue 1 ahead of Sunday's French classic against Paris Saint-Germain FC. "I believe in positive and negative trends," Cheyrou said. "We are on a good one so let's make the most of it. We must avoid the complacency good results could generate."
Marseille will have their concerns over next Thursday's second leg as they play on the artificial pitch at the Luzhniki Stadium, the venue, though not the surface, where they lost 3-0 to Parma FC in the 1998/99 UEFA Cup final. "I hope we can cope with it," said Gerets, who has successfully switched captain Lorik Cana from midfield to centre-back – a similar move to the one Brahim Hemdani made under José Anigo in 2003/04, a season which ended in another trip to the UEFA Cup final, and a 2-0 defeat by Valencia CF.
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