Boudewijn Zenden is convinced Olympique de Marseille can finally get their season going after a pair of late goals ensured a 2-0 home win over fellow Group A hopefuls Beşiktaş JK.
Determined defending held the Ligue 1 strugglers at bay until a corner from Samir Nasir struck a post and fell rather fortuitously to Julien Rodriguez on 76 minutes, and Djibril Cissé made sure of the points with a well-placed effort in added time. "Everyone worked hard and worked together tonight, and if we continue playing like that there's not too many teams who can beat us," enthused the Dutch midfielder. "Hopefully, we can carry on like that against [AJ] Auxerre [in Ligue 1] on Saturday. It'll be a different kind of match, but we'll approach it with the same attitude and with the extra confidence we gained here."
The victory - Marseille's first at home this season - gives them an early lead in the group, and Zenden attributed his side's revival to some tough words behind the scenes. "I don't think it was the fact we were playing in the Champions League that brought out the best in us," he explained. "Before the game, we got together, looked each other in the eyes and said the things that needed to be said. It was good to get everything out in the open, and even better that it happened today, because in the Champions League it's so important to start with a win at home if you want to progress."
The success could also prove important for the future of coach Albert Emon, who has come in for criticism following Marseille's poor start in the 20-team Ligue 1, where they are 15th after eight games. "This victory was for Albert as well," said Zenden. "We're all in the same situation, players and coaching staff alike, but unfortunately it's always the coach who is under the spotlight, so we're very happy with this win for ourselves and for the coach - and for everyone whose heart beats for Marseille. I think our fans can also be very proud of us."
The Mediterranean outfit continue their European bid with a trip to Liverpool FC on 3 October, and that is sure to be a special occasion for their 31-year-old summer signing. Zenden moved to the Stade Vélodrome from Anfield, but he denied that his thoughts have already turned to that encounter, saying: "Of course, it will be emotional, but tonight is all about this win and looking ahead with the rest of the team. We have a job to do against Auxerre on Saturday."
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