Florian Thauvin said Marseille’s 1-0 Coupe de France semi-final win at Sochaux was down to the improved spirit at the club following the suspension of head coach Michel.
Thauvin’s goal early in the second half settled a tight match on Wednesday and booked a final showdown against defending champions Paris Saint-Germain, with interim coach Franck Passi taking charge for the first time after Michel was dismissed a day earlier.
The winger, who is on loan from Newcastle United, explained there has been “tension” surrounding 10-time Coupe de France champions Marseille, whose victory was only their second win in 13 games in all competitions.
“There is a particular tension around the club and players. We have no room for error. We must persevere,” the winger said.
“In the first half, we had the same problem as usual, we did not play together. In the second half, we saw a group with a very good spirit. Everyone fought and made the effort. I congratulate the group and the coach.
“It was a good match. The spirit was there. We immediately see the difference. I am very happy. Beyond the personal satisfaction, it is a satisfaction for the club. We had to bring the club into the final. The fans and the club needed it.
“[Steven] Fletcher and myself, it was not easy to integrate into a team that is struggling. We did not give up. We have worked. The proof was tonight – we were rewarded.”
Striker Michy Batshuayi insisted the victory over Sochaux, which booked Marseille’s 19th appearance in the Coupe de France final, will lift the club, currently languishing in the bottom half of Ligue 1, six points above the relegation zone.
“This win will do us much good. It was a little hard to prepare for this meeting,” Batshuayi said.
“It was a bit hard to lose the coach. We must lift our heads as soon as possible. It has been proven today.
“Before thinking about the final, there is Nantes this weekend, so we’ll focus on the league and we must link the victories.”