body-container-line-1

Former Cote d'Ivoire boss Gasset takes over at Marseille

By Paul Myers - RFI
Europe AP - Sunday Alamba
FEB 21, 2024 LISTEN
AP - Sunday Alamba

Former Cote d'Ivoire head coach Jean-Louis Gasset will take charge of his first full training sessions on Wednesday of the Marseille squad as they prepare for a Europa League clash against Shakhtar Donetsk on Thursday night.

Less than a month after departing from his job with the Ivorians, the 70-year-old Frenchman was installed as Marseille boss until the end of the season.

"It's an immense honour for me to join this legendary club," said Gasset during his official presentation.

"I'm eager to get to work with this group of players and prepare for the games so that we can show our worth."

Gasset, who has more than 30 years of coaching experience, becomes the fourth man at the helm this season after Marcelino, Jacques Abardonado and Gennaro Gattuso.

The former Saint-Etienne boss was available following a fraught end to his time in charge of Cote d'Ivoire.

Change

He steered the team to an opening day victory over Guinea Bissau at the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations.

But the hosts lost their second game in Group A to Nigeria and then a team from the country suffered their worst home defeat with the 4-0 loss to Equatorial Guinea.

Those consecutive setbacks left Cote d'Ivoire on the brink of elimination from the tournament.

"It was a humiliation," recalled Gasset. "I said to the president of the football federation that it was impossible to go on. I had key players injured and I thought that resigning was the best thing to do. What happened next proved me right."

The Ivorian federation appointed Emerse Faé – one of Gasset's assistants – as they waited to see if the side would qualify as the fourth of the four best third-placed teams.

Surge

Once in the knockout stages, the injured duo of Sebastien Haller and Simon Adringra proved decisive in the surge to the final where they came from behind to beat Nigeria 2-1.

"I've got a feeling of being unfulfilled," Gasset added. "But I took the right decision and I do think that a lot of the good fortune they had was because of the good work that was done before."

Gasset's task until the end of the 2023/24 season will be to take Marseille as possible in European club football's second most prestigious competition after the Champions League.

Lying ninth in Ligue 1 with 30 points after 22 games, they are 23 points behind traditional rivals Paris Saint-Germain who top the table.

Following Thursday night's game, entertain fellow southerners Montpellier at the Vélodrome on Sunday.

Marseille will go into that derby seeking a first victory since 7 January following five draws and two defeats.

"We've all got to do a little bit more," added Gasset. "Everyone has got to look at themselves in the mirror and say could they have done more.

"Some of the last minute goals have come through individual errors ... it's not the system that has been at fault."

body-container-line