Payet eases Marseille fitness fears ahead of Europa League final

  • Payet eases Marseille fitness fears ahead of Europa League final

Payet eases Marseille fitness fears ahead of Europa League final

Marseille's Dimitri Payet and Steve Mandanda singled out France teammate Antoine Griezmann as Atletico Madrid's biggest threat to their side in Wednesday's Europa League final.

Coach Rudi Garcia surpassed expectations just by leading Marseille into European competition this season, yet now they have reached the final after a run that started in the third qualifying round last July. Marseille is the only French side to have won the Champions League in 1993, but since then has lost twice in the UEFA Cup final, as the Europa League was formerly known. He can turn the game at any moment of the match.

"We know experience is on their side".

While Atletico are determined to justify their status as favourites, Griezmann's future has dominated the build-up and he is widely expected to move to Spanish LaLiga champions Barcelona at the end of this campaign. Team-mate Saul Niguez believes that only one thing will be on Griezmann's mind. "It is going to be hard". "I haven't changed anything except I have been injured less and when you have no injuries it's must easier to play and feel better on the pitch". "This is my eighth final with Atleti and I think the team is really motivated, we need to win".

"Whenever I played a final I experienced it with the same clarity, regardless of the talks or what surrounds the game", he said at his pre-match press conference. "We're going to try to remove the last doubts this afternoon, but we should be able to count on everyone".

Atletico have already assured themselves of a place in next season's Champions League by finishing in the top four in La Liga, but Marseille, now in the Europa League spot in Ligue 1 with one game remaining, would guarantee their passage by winning the final. Simeone needs to improve on his record in finals, but his approach will be difference because the expectation is now on his shoulders. Both teams are very pragmatic and play a similar style.

"We might not be able to play handsome football throughout but the main thing is to score one more goal than them".

He added: "This year, we're celebrating the 25th anniversary of the only French club to win the Champions League. We're lucky to be at Marseille, a club which has a fantastic love affair with Europe dating back to the 1990s".