The official website for European football

Mandanda and OM eager to make up for lost time

Published: Tuesday 17 September 2013, 19.42CET
Steve Mandanda says absence has made Olympique de Marseille hearts grow fonder for the "magnificent" Champions League stage which they return to against Arsenal FC.
by Sébastien Blanchard
from Stade Vélodrome
Mandanda and OM eager to make up for lost time
Marseille goalkeeper Steve Mandanda faces the media ©AFP/Getty Images

Tournament statistics

MarseilleArsenal

Goals scored5
 
9
Possession (%)47
 
53
Total attempts61
 
61
on target32
 
43
off target29
 
18
blocked0
 
0
against woodwork1
 
1
Corners15
 
26
Offsides8
 
23
Yellow cards15
 
13
Red Cards1
 
2
Fouls committed70
 
95
Fouls suffered69
 
104
Passes2988
 
4889
completed2149
 
3763

Press kits

  • Match press kit (local language)
 
Published: Tuesday 17 September 2013, 19.42CET

Mandanda and OM eager to make up for lost time

Steve Mandanda says absence has made Olympique de Marseille hearts grow fonder for the "magnificent" Champions League stage which they return to against Arsenal FC.

Olympique de Marseille captain Steve Mandanda says failure to reach the UEFA Champions League last season has fuelled his team's desire to make an impact this term – starting with Wednesday's Group F home game against Arsenal FC.

Although Marseille got to the last eight in 2011/12, their continental success was in marked contrast to their domestic travails as they ended an abject campaign tenth in Ligue 1. It meant no UEFA Champions League return and Mandanda admitted he prefers to keep busy on autumnal Tuesdays and Wednesdays.

"We were frustrated last year when we did not play Champions League football, so we are looking forward to returning," said the goalkeeper, whose side finished runners-up in France in May. "These games are magnificent to play in and we are delighted to be back in this competition. We missed it."

Arsenal, boosted by the recent arrival of Mesut Özil, will prove testing opposition at the Stade Vélodrome, but then that is what the competition is all about for Mandanda. "We want to win, but we know we will be up against a great team," the 28-year-old French international added. "We are in a difficult group; we knew it would be complicated.

"We know the significance of the first match and it will be important to have a good start, even if this game is not decisive. We used to have difficulties in our first games in Europe, but this is a new season and we need to start well and perform. We are not afraid. We have to show desire and ambition."

Arsène Wenger's visitors, of course, have a French accent with Bacary Sagna, Mathieu Flamini, Laurent Koscielny, Olivier Giroud and Yaya Sanogo all in the squad. Mandanda knows a few of them well from international duty, though he stresses: "We are happy to meet our friends from the national team, but on the pitch they will be opponents."

Last updated: 18/09/13 15.05CET

http://www.uefa.com/uefachampionsleague/season=2014/matches/round=2000479/match=2011761/prematch/focus/index.html#marseille+glad+back

  • © 1998-2014 UEFA. All rights reserved.
  • The CHAMPIONS LEAGUE and UEFA CHAMPIONS LEAGUE words, the UEFA Champions League logo and trophy and the UEFA Champions League Final logos 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.