Facing FC Porto is likely to prompt some unwelcome memories for Gaël Givet, but the Olympique de Marseille defender insists he is only looking forward.
Facing FC Porto is likely to prompt some unwelcome memories for Gaël Givet, but the Olympique de Marseille defender insists he is only looking forwards as he prepares for Wednesday's Group A fixture at the Stade Vélodrome.
'No point dwelling'
The 26-year-old was a member of the AS Monaco FC team beaten 3-0 by the Portuguese champions in the 2004 UEFA Champions League final, a one-sided affair that brought the principality club's excellent run to an end. "My memories of playing Porto aren't particularly fond because we lost," explained Givet. "They're an impressive team, very solid and capable of exploding on the counterattack. They move so quickly and they don't let in many goals. I doubt they've changed too much since then, but there's no point dwelling on what happened three years ago. We have to keep our focus on this match."
'We'll be outsiders'
Marseille top the section following their stunning 1-0 victory at Liverpool FC last time out, and a third straight triumph would send them five points clear of their opponents. But despite their healthy position and the confidence gained from their Anfield exploits, Givet feels the visitors will start as favourites. "It would be a real coup if we win," he said. "We're up against another side with vast experience in this competition, just as we were against Liverpool, and when you get to play at this level every year it's a real boost. We haven't been involved for a few years, so we have to face the fact we'll be outsiders."
Change of atmosphere
That reluctance to get carried away doubtless has its roots in Marseille's cagey start in Ligue 1, where they lie 17th after eleven outings. It took Sunday's slender 1-0 win over RC Lens to lift them out of the danger zone, and Givet admits the change of atmosphere that European football brings will do everyone good. "It's a different competition and we'll try to enjoy it," said the French international, who operated at left-back against Lens but should return to the middle in midweek. "It's not a decisive game because we won't qualify if we win, and we won't be out if we lose. We're top of the group but we don't want to pile any more pressure on ourselves. That said, we'll do everything we can to get all three points."