a reserve under high voltage


Monday april 4th. If the saying goes that you don’t discover yourself by a thread, in the Phocaean City, the sun is radiant and the temperature excellent so as not to do what we have been told. In addition, for Olympique de Marseille, everything is fine. Jorge Sampaoli’s players come out of a controlled meeting in Saint-Étienne (4-2) and have strengthened their lead over Nice, the fourth, with five points. The weather is fine, then.

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But a football club is not just the first team. Erected as a priority when Frank McCourt arrived in 2016, the youth team still skates in Marseille. The reserve, which plays in National 2 in group C, is dead last with 18 small points taken in 23 matches played and an abysmal goal difference of -22 (worst defense with 43 goals conceded). But what are the causes of this disaster?

The absence of defenders

Of course, if everything is very far from rosy, or even very very far, there are a few small explanations. The defense boss, who was mentioned for a time in the first team, Aaron Kamardin (20), has only played eight small games this season due to repeated injuries.

Joakim Kada (21), extended at the end of last season to help his young friend keep OM clean sheets, only played three poor games, also due to injuries. It gets seriously complicated, especially since other problems somewhat plague this workforce.

Strange workforce management

The reserve has shortcomings, that’s obvious. On March 26, we wondered what could tarnish this pretty sky that shone over the Canebière. Yet another defeat for the team coached by Maxence Flachez, at the Campus, against the OL reserve, of course (0-2). If the little Salomon Abergel (right side, nephew of the former OM player and current Lorient player) showed qualities and Giovani Versini, too, tried on his right side, the balls were mainly magnetized by the two Niçois who arrived this summer, Salim Ben Seghir and a Bilel Nadir, of whom we do not really understand why he plays number 10 (he was trained as number six).

Concerning the first quoted, it is something else again. On several occasions, he clashed with his trainer Maxence Flachez, words were heard and sometimes his teammates believe that he plays a little on his own, which makes him a little isolated from time to time. . There is no doubt that the two players will not make old bones and it is rumored that one of them could join a Ligue 2 club next season.

Questions about goalies

After the defenders, the goalkeepers are also responsible for what happens, of course. Simon Ngapandouetnbu, who we see in the professional group, takes goals, Fabio Vanni also and the case of the third goalkeeper, Manuel Nazaretian sometimes questions. The boy, very brilliant, has evolved six times this season and his management has created some tension in the locker room.

If he has sometimes replaced an injured Fabio Vanni, his performances have questioned and questions about his professional contract and his tenure have been flying for a while, he who is the son of the vice-president of the OM association and ex-training adviser by Jacques-Henri Eyraud, Robert Nazaretian. Appreciated globally by everyone, none of this is really his fault.

A trainer in the eye of the storm

In addition to the aforementioned choices, Maxence Flachez struggled, in front of his players, this year, to explain some of his choices. The replacement of Ugo Bertelli or Jonathan Pitou for example, trained in the heart of the game and who have mainly played on the wings since the start of the season. Also, players like Targhalline, Nadir, Ben Seghir and Tongya have the option of making themselves available for reserve. Except that sometimes the decision is made the morning of the match, so a player who expects to be a starter for the week learns a few hours before kick-off that he will start on the bench or in a wacky position because a player with a pro contract suddenly wants to play.

Maxence Flachez never intended to enroll in a project here, due to his proximity to Nasser Larguet, he was able to have a good job, with a nice salary, but above all a registration for his coaching diploma professional that he has already missed twice “Advances a follower of the reserve, adding:” and given that the club can only present two candidates per year, Flachez has taken, since his arrival, one out of two places… »

A management that lacks leadership

Players are not responsible for the choices that are made. Of our interlocutors, the name that comes to our ears the most is that of the director of the training center, Nasser Larguet. Pointing to his lack of leadership, some think he would have seen himself stay in charge of the first team when he did his interim between Villas-Boas and Sampaoli last year.

Others also regret that he did not take the lead in relation to a sinking reserve and especially vis-à-vis certain very curious choices by Maxence Flachez, the coach in place. It is therefore not necessarily surprising that today’s young people are still very far from the first team.

a chasm with professionals

This season, only Oussama Targhalline has had minutes with the teachers, again this Sunday against the Greens. However, some participate as Sparring-Partners with Dimitri Payet and the others before the meetings. It is repeated, in the entourage of the reserve that this affects training and that young people are sometimes disappointed to take part in these exercises.

Information swept away by some relatives of the players: “ one day they bothered all the office workers because they were shouting and laughing like crazy. Some leaned over to see what was going on and it was Jorge Sampaoli, with them, who was playing and making bets. It is a factually false argument that they are not happy. Regarding training, it’s something else, but we can do sparring on Friday morning and train in the afternoon… “.

What solutions?

For this season, it seems a bit grated and it is more than likely that the reserve will end up in National 3 next season. But, on the Commanderie side, it is rumored that Nasser Larguet will find a new base for next season. Pablo Longoria, who, let’s face it, did not have time to get his hands dirty with a workforce to rebuild and a relationship to appease with the supporters, should regain control.

Obviously, it will not be him directly, but his technical director, David Friio, who could recover the management of the reserve and the young people since, in the idea, it is the very role of a technical director to take care of professionals and the training center. But, a stone’s throw from the end of the reserve season, we don’t expect much. Neither on the side of the players, nor on the side of the club.


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