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Mandanda makes light of Marseille struggles

Steve Mandanda is confident Olympique de Marseille can continue to reserve their best for the UEFA Champions League as they search for another Vélodrome victory against Arsenal FC.

Marseille captain and goalkeeper Steve Mandanda
Marseille captain and goalkeeper Steve Mandanda ©Getty Images

Captain Steve Mandanda is confident Olympique de Marseille will continue to reserve their best for the UEFA Champions League as they welcome Arsenal FC looking for a third win in as many Group F games.

The French side have already overcome Olympiacos FC and Borussia Dortmund to take the early initiative in the section, their impeccable European displays in stark contrast to a stuttering start to the league campaign that has left them 15th in the table having won only one of their first ten matches. "We approach Champions League games differently from a mental point of view," the goalkeeper said. "We know we have to be strong. For us big games are easier to approach than less important matches, but I'm not worried."

Following the 3-0 defeat of German champions Dortmund at Stade Vélodrome on matchday two, Mandanda is hopeful of another impressive home showing: "We don't need to motivate the players for the Champions League; everybody is focused. We already have six points and want to win every match, and I hope that will continue. It is not that different to Ligue 1, we just have to keep the same spirit and repeat it in our domestic league."

Despite their domestic travails, Marseille are unbeaten in their last four Ligue 1 outings, although they have drawn the last three. Mandanda is nevertheless confident better times are just around the corner. "Our squad is in good form, we have a great team spirit and we'll go out looking to win," continued the 26-year-old. "That would put us in a good position but we are playing a very good team. We take matches one at a time. Today we are focused on Arsenal."

Marseille's opponents have also endured a testing start to the campaign, although Sunday's Robin van Persie-inspired win against Sunderland AFC lifted them to tenth place in the Premier League. "Arsenal are a good team, very dangerous up front – Van Persie scores a lot of goals, but we know them very well," said Mandanda. "They're in a similar position to us in their league, and we know we'll get chances."