11 July 2014 11:34
Marseille’s Florian Thauvin expects Marcelo Bielsa’s arrival as coach to help mould them into Ligue 1’s surprise package this season.
The experienced Argentine was appointed as coach in May, with the club having been led by Jose Anigo following Elie Baup’s sacking in December.
Under Anigo, Marseille missed out on qualifying for European football by a point and Bielsa is tasked with helping break back into the top five.
With Paris Saint-Germain, Monaco, Lille, Saint-Etienne and Lyon all finishing above them last time out, Thauvin feels Bielsa has what it takes to get Marseille back into the upper reaches of the French top flight.
“He’s someone who lives for football, who loves football and has a lot of love for his players,” the 21-year-old told the club’s official website.
“He’s someone who will always be behind his players and who appreciates them enormously.
“I think we’re going to surprise quite a few teams next season.”
Lyon have played two friendlies since the end of last season’s Ligue 1 campaign – going down to Jeonbuk Motors and Debrecen.
However, as Bielsa’s side continue their close-season preparations, Thauvin predicts they will go into the new campaign at full strength.
“With the pre-season we’ve had so far and the intensity we’ve been putting into our drills and practice matches, I think it should all go pretty well,” he added.
“I knew there would be a lot of changes and that the coach was very rigorous.
“It’s not easy to run as much as we have been, but we’re getting used to it and it’s going really well.”