Andre Villas-Boas responded to criticism of his tactics in Marseille’s defeat to Manchester City by saying the club can play like a team coached by Pep Guardiola when they can afford him.
City ran out 3-0 winners against a defensive Marseille side in the Champions League Group C clash at the Stade Velodrome on Tuesday.
The Premier League side moved ahead in the 18th minute when Valentin Rongier’s stray pass was used by Kevin De Bruyne to tee up Ferran Torres, but the hosts held firm until Ilkay Gundogan and Raheem Sterling settled matters in the final quarter of an hour.
Marseille have now suffered defeat in 11 straight Champions League matches, with Jeunesse Esch (16 between 1973 and 1987) and Anderlecht (12 between 2003 and 2005) the only teams to have lost more consecutive games in the history of Europe’s premier club competition.
As expected for a team coached by Guardiola, City dominated possession with 64 per cent and limited Marseille to just two attempts on goal across the 90 minutes.
Villas-Boas set his team up with a three-man defence and highlighted that Marseille cannot afford the level of investment that has been seen at City.
“Look, when I tried something different against a team of this level [against Paris Saint-Germain], we lost 4-0 and you massacred me. I think all the choices I make now are bad,” said Villas-Boas.
“You talk about systems, high blocks, low blocks … but still, you shouldn’t overdo it.
“City is City. They spent a billion in five years. It’s a team that plays very well, which has a coach who is a phenomenon, who always plays with possession of the ball with Bayern [Munich], Barcelona, and now City.
“Unfortunately, Marseille doesn’t have the money to bring Guardiola here. If you have Guardiola here one day, you can have a team which will have precisely that.
“But hey, unfortunately you have AVB with his tactics. He tries to do the best he can for the team.”
— UEFA Champions League (@ChampionsLeague) October 27, 2020
Marseille have now lost their first two group stage games for the fifth time in their past six participations in the Champions League.
Attempting to explain his decision making to Telefoot, Villas-Boas added: “The teams playing against City are at five in midfield to occupy the spaces well. That was the norm for their last 10 opponents.
“We wanted to play balls in behind them. Unfortunately, they were offered the first goal when we needed to get out of the press.
“We had a better second half. We made the changes but we conceded the second goal. So fatigue plus the goal broke morale.
“I don’t regret my choices, why should I regret them? There’s now six points for City, three points for Porto and three points for Olympiacos, so the loss in Greece hurts. The matches against Porto will be the key to qualifying.”
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