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Marseille to follow Monaco lead

Published: Thursday 8 April 2004, 6.27CET
José Anigo has called on Olympique de Marseille to follow AS Monaco FC's lead against FC Internazionale.

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Published: Thursday 8 April 2004, 6.27CET

Marseille to follow Monaco lead

José Anigo has called on Olympique de Marseille to follow AS Monaco FC's lead against FC Internazionale.

By Matthew Spiro in Marseille

Olympique de Marseille coach José Anigo has called on his players to follow the example of AS Monaco FC when they take on FC Internazionale in the UEFA Cup quarter-final first leg at the Stade Vélodrome tonight.

'Enormous quality'
The French league leaders turned in a sensational performance to eliminate Real Madrid CF from the UEFA Champions League on Tuesday, and Anigo believes Marseille will have to produce something similar to emerge victorious against Inter. "Monaco showed us last night that in football everything is possible," Anigo said yesterday. "We have to be equally determined against Inter because, like Real, they are a team of enormous quality."

'Excellent strikers'
Anigo, who travelled to Milan to witness Inter's 3-2 victory against Juventus FC at the weekend, was impressed by Alberto Zaccheroni's side - and in particular their young striker Obafemi Martins. "They have a squad full of stars and on paper they are clearly better than us," he said. "Even if they are missing [Alvaro] Recoba, they have two excellent strikers in [Christian] Vieri and Martins. We'll have to be especially careful of Martins who caused Juventus endless problems on Sunday."

Missing forwards
The Marseille coach has had to draft in several youth team players to cover for a long list of absentees, with the attack looking especially depleted. Ahmed Hossam 'Mido' is suspended, while Anigo confirmed that Steve Marlet has not recovered from a thigh injury in time to feature. "Didier Drogba is our only established forward available to me, but he has shown that he can do a very effective job up front on his own," said Anigo of the striker who has scored 28 goals this season.

Midfield support
Drogba will be supported by midfield players Camel Meriem and Laurent Batlles in what Anigo insisted would be an attack-minded 3-4-2-1 formation. "Against Liverpool [FC] we sat back early on because we were worried about over-committing," Anigo explained. "It was only after Liverpool scored that we started to be positive and imposed our game on them. Perhaps this time we should worry a little less about our opponents and attack Inter from the off."

Toldo blow
As well as losing Recoba to a hip injury, Inter will be without first-choice goalkeeper Francesco Toldo who has not recovered from an ankle strain. The Italian international will be replaced by Alberto Fontana, who also played against Juventus on Sunday. Long-term injury victim Francesco Coco is still on the sidelines, while Adriano and Dejan Stankovic are not eligible having already played in Europe for their previous clubs this season.

Timely lift
Despite missing several key players, Zaccheroni remains confident, explaining that the victory over Juventus has given the club a timely lift. "My morale and that of the team is good," he said. "For us this is a moment of equilibrium that we need to make the most of. Our aim is to play the maximum number of games this season which means going forward in the UEFA Cup."

'Real danger'
Inter have won all nine two-legged ties they have played against French clubs in European competition, but defender Fabio Cannavaro, who is set to line up alongside Marco Materazzi and Iván Cordoba in a three-man back line, added a word of caution. "French teams are tough to beat this season and Marseille have some very good technical players," he said. "Their striker Drogba is a real danger so we cannot afford to make any mistakes."

Last updated: 08/04/04 23.28CET

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