Marseille manager Rudi Garcia admitted that he took a gamble on Dimitri Payet for their Europa League final defeat against Atletico Madrid, which ultimately backfired when the skipper was forced off
The French midfielder was left out of their last league game against Guingamp last Friday due to muscle problems and there had been lingering doubts over his availability for the final in Lyon.
However, despite Payet’s concerns, Garcia chose to start the 31-year-old for the final and was made to rue the decision when he was forced off after 31 minutes with a hamstring injury.
“I chose to start Dimitri, one of our best players,” said Garcia, according to Sky Sports.
“We also missed him from set-pieces as Atletico, if they do ever concede, sometimes concede from set-pieces.
“We hoped that he’d be at 100 percent and we gave him a fitness test this morning. He was worried about playing and whether he’d be able to kick the ball hard.
“He didn’t aggravate the injury today, he just wasn’t fully fit. In matches like this, you have to take risks.
“If we had played with everyone at 100 percent, we could have been to the maximum and played with you before this monster.”
The French conceded that they were outclassed by Atletico in the end, but felt that the 3-0 scoreline was a harsh reflection on his side.
“The score, I think, is too severe. The best team has won, the one with the most experience, it is a great team. We will try again next year” he admitted.
“We found the first serious position in the match, we went to the opponent’s level, but we couldn’t spread it in 90 minutes.
“I think we made Marseille fans proud and got a large part of the French public behind us. I’m proud of my players because of that.”