Sampaoli won't bring Bielsa ball back to Marseille

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The former Atletico Mineiro, Santos and Sevilla boss, who has also managed Argentina and Chile, has inherited a team in crisis and will be charged with bringing coherency to Marseille's play and an upturn in results.

Bielsa coached Marseille in the 2014-15 season, when OM led the way in Ligue 1 at the halfway stage of the campaign but fell away and finished fourth.

His enigmatic ways made him a hero in the city, and Bielsa is now being revered as manager of Leeds United. However, Sampaoli said he would not wish to be compared to his countryman, despite having enormous admiration for Bielsa's methods.

"For many coaches, Marcelo Bielsa is a reference, ditto for me. I have followed each of his teams and I feel close to him in my game ideas, but I'm not going to try to be like him," Sampaoli said.

"I'm going to change things quickly in my own way. I come for a project anchored in the present moment, my goal is not to be remembered for the long term. I just want to help the club out of this difficult situation and make the fans happy."

Marseille finished second last year but this season has been one of implosion, with a shocking Coupe de France defeat at the hands of fourth-tier Canet Roussillon on Sunday a new low for the team.

They are floundering in eighth place in Ligue 1 and appointed Sampaoli after suspending previous boss Andre Villas-Boas following "sporting policy" disagreements with the board.

Only three teams have won fewer Ligue 1 games in 2021 than Marseille - bottom two Dijon and Nantes, and Rennes, the team who visit the Stade Velodrome on Wednesday.

Marseille have created an average of 6.5 chances per league game since the turn of the year, having carved out 7.6 per match in the 2020-21 competition before January 1.

Overall they have created 192 chances this season, which is the fewest of all Ligue 1 teams.

OM cannot even claim to have been unlucky - they have hit the woodwork three times, fewer than any other team. Paris Saint-Germain and Lyon have each done so 19 times and Rennes and Nice on 14 occasions.

The new boss, who took his first training session on Monday, explained in a news conference: "I want to implement a short-term playing philosophy.

"We have to try to get back to basics, to show the desire, the rhythm and for each player in this group to realise he is lucky to wear this jersey.

"We have to convince the squad that the project consists of being competitive in all areas by getting involved to the maximum. Some players will adapt but others won't. Anyway, the goal is to restore the image of the club."

New Marseille president Pablo Longoria said experienced playmaker Dimitri Payet and goalkeeper Steve Mandanda, who is captain of the team, would have a major role to play in the Sampaoli era.

Longoria said: "You have to have respect for the club's legends. Mandanda is the player who has played the most for OM in the club's history. Naturally he comes into our project, the same for Payet.

"They will get to know a new playing philosophy and everyone must stay united, despite results, so that everyone goes in the same direction."


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