Wednesday, 23 May, 2018

Europa League final: Atletico mindful of painful finals ahead of Marseille showdown

Marseille vs. Atletico Madrid in UEFA Europa League final: Live updates, TV channel, how to watch online PREVIEW: Marseille out to deny Atletico in Europa League final
Cary Erickson | 16 May, 2018, 11:07

In both 2014 and 2016 they lost the UEFA Champions League final to city rivals Real Madrid.

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. Everything we have experienced in these last few years we will remember forever.

Payet, who returned to Marseille in January 2017 after a successful yet troubled stint at West Ham United, urged his side to make the most of any chances that fall their way against Atletico and said they may have to win ugly. "He is a very important player for us and he could play in any team in the world".

Atletico coach Diego Simeone identified the France global as the brains behind Marseille's attack and the man his side will need to stop as they target a first trophy since 2014. "They came out of the Champions League while we came through the Europa League qualifiers", said coach Rudi Garcia.

He will be expected by many to light up put Marseille to the sword and Payet, his global team-mate with France, knows just how risky the forward is to their hopes, the pair having spearheaded France's run to the Euro 2016 final on home soil.

UEFA Cup runners-up in 1998/99 and 2003/04, Marseille have reached the UEFA Europa League final for the first time in four attempts.

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But, after rousing wins over RB Leipzig in the last eight and Salzburg in the semi-finals, Marseille and their passionate fans are now dreaming of glory on home soil.

Speaking ahead of the game, Torres looked ahead to the opportunity of picking up his first major trophy as an Atleti player, as well as forgetting about the twilight of his career due to the busy preparations.

"This year we're celebrating the 25th anniversary of being the first French side to win the Champions League", Garcia said in his pre-match press conference on Tuesday.

"They have the experience but we've studied our opponents and we'll know how to take them on", he added.

Marseille are also battling for a top-three finish in the French league, and the fear is that fatigue will be a factor as they try to break down Atletico's brilliant defence. "Their coach has done a great job".

Authorities are preparing for the threat of trouble, with a big rivalry developing in recent years between Marseille and Lyon.