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Fernando Morientes feels FC Zürich's win at AC Milan has kept point-less Olympique de Marseille's Group C hopes alive as his side prepare for a double-header against the Swiss champions, starting at the Letzigrund Stadium on Wednesday.
Zürich threw a spanner in the Group C works with a 1-0 victory at San Siro on Matchday 2, while Marseille have dropped to the bottom of the section following successive defeats by Milan and Real Madrid CF. Didier Deschamps' side now face the pool's surprise package in successive fixtures and Morientes is thankful the group's big-hitters have not yet run away with it. "If Milan had beaten Zürich, Madrid and Milan would have two victories each and it would be a lot more difficult," he said. "The way things stand, we have a chance of doing something. The problem is that we have no points; two matches and no points, so we have to play to win."
Dependant on others
Morientes is, however, admant that OM are not yet staring down the barrel: "In football you can't say it's finished until it's finished because we've seen a lot of things throughout history. We are at the bottom but we still believe we can do something positive. Right now it doesn't depend only on us but also on our rivals, and we hope they will have their own setbacks so we can catch them."
A three-time UEFA Champions League winner with Madrid as well as a finalist with Deschamps' AS Monaco FC in 2004, Morientes has fond memories of his time under the former midfielder in the principality but now sees a more polished coach in southern France. "When I arrived in Monaco it was one of his first seasons managing after he had stopped playing," added the Spanish striker. "Now he has the experience that the years working give you.
"He also has all this experience he gathered as a player for great teams and as a French international. There is an evolution from when I met him in Monaco to now. On top of his professionalism, people really respect him because of all he achieved as a player and what he has started to achieve as a coach. What characterises him most is the way he treats the players; it's on a personal basis."
Sixteen years on from Marseille's triumph in the inaugural UEFA Champions League, Morientes still dares to dream. "Everybody is willing us to do it again. That was a historic event and people want us to repeat it. It's not easy, not easy at all, but the people want another one and so do the players and the club."
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