Has the competition resumed at OM for the goalkeeper position? The performances of this time speak for Steve Mandanda. But Jorge Sampaoli still has a lot of confidence in Pau Lopez. In such a situation, it is not easy to guess who will start against PSG at Parc des Princes on Sunday.
Steve Mandanda or Pau Lopez at the Parc des Princes this Sunday? It is a question of the moment in Marseille, and this sense of uncertainty shows that the situation has changed little. Since Jorge Sampaoli sent the French goalkeeper to the bench during the Monaco-OM in early September, the position was completely settled, with Pau López donning the opening suit in Ligue 1.
Since then, the French international has played only two league games: against Metz before Christmas, as a short end-of-year gift with no future, and against Montpellier on the previous Sunday. That evening, the Argentine technician explained that he had decided to field Mandanda so that he could keep pace between the two European Cup matches against PAOK. And maybe more?
Europe has reintroduced Mandanda
It is a possibility, but far from certain. Over the course of the season, Sampaoli has slightly modified his position regarding Mandanda. “Il Fenomeno” has gained the fact of playing at least all Europa League conference matches, a small consolation that has become a de facto objective capable of motivating Mandanda and spice it up by the end of the season.
But above all, the Frenchman’s performance is likely to raise doubts in Sampaoli’s mind. During a recent interview with Samir Nasri for Canal+, the Argentine joked under Mandanda’s eyes with his former Sevilla FC player saying that he had “learned to play with him”. Understood: Mandanda adapts well to Sampaoli’s beloved game principles, which gives a goalkeeper how to play high if necessary, by re-launching short, even in the face of opposing pressure. To do too.
Mandanda also offers long game quality. And above all, the world champion has repeatedly proved himself decisive by pulling off some highly rated saves or saves, proving that he still has the great form and power to pull off such performances in a disappointing season. Has a unique mind.
Mandanda’s return was highly appreciated internally
Steve Mandanda, who had depression and occasionally wanted elsewhere during the first half of the season, opted to stay on OM. He had got it in his head to take stock at the end of the season and wait when the time came. He now finds a smile and a taste for competition.
On Thursday evening, assistant Jorge Desio recalled how happy OM was to rely on him: “Steve is doing great, incredible match. We trust him and that has always been the case. We have two great goalkeepers.” Which of these “two great goalkeepers” will start on Sunday? Pau Lopez has been doing generally well this season, but seems less royal for a few weeks.
Within the club and locker rooms, many appreciate Mandanda’s return to the forefront and feel that they have a chance to set up in the Parc des Princes on Sunday. Mandanda, for her part, prefers not to have false hopes. He admitted before the match against PAOK that he did not want to project himself on the rest of the season and Sampaoli’s future choices. They have no guarantee of getting in line on Sunday even after having a lot of good matches at the moment.
The decision for PSG-OM will be announced to the main interested parties this Saturday of course. Lately, Sampaoli will show a little more psychology and understand that it is not always pleasant for a goalkeeper to be in uncertainty until match day.