Marseille have got off to a dreadful start iin Ligue 1 this season but coach Didier Deschamps remains confident he can turn the troubled club’s fortunes around starting with their trip to Toulouse this weekend.
OM have won just once in their opening nine league games and signed off before the international break with a desperate performance in drawing 1-1 at home to Brest, a result that left them 13th in the table, 12 points behind leaders and bitter rivals Paris Saint-Germain.
Owner Margarita Louis-Dreyfus added to the air of uncertainty surrounding the club last week when she threatened to sell up if things did not improve soon.
Louis-Dreyfus met with the squad on Thursday in an attempt to clear the air and help boost morale, but only a win in Toulouse will really lift spirits on the south coast.
“I am not happy that we have taken just eight points from nine games and that people are laughing at us,” said Deschamps.
“I am the coach, and the team are not getting results. But I am not going to turn my back on my convictions.”
Marseille go into Saturday’s clash without Cesar Azpilicueta, Alou Diarra and Mathieu Valbuena due to suspension.
But there is a chance that Andre-Pierre Gignac could feature against his former club after over a month on the sidelines with the latest in a long line of injuries.
While Marseille were being tipped as serious title contenders at the season’s outset, mid-table respectability was the only honour that Toulouse were expected to compete for.
However, under the guidance of former Marseille goalkeeper Alain Casanova, they come into the weekend in fourth place, and will be looking to prove that their 3-0 loss at Sochaux a fortnight ago was merely a blip.
Deschamps’ side are one of three French clubs with Champions League games to look forward to in midweek.
While they host Arsenal, Lyon travel to Real Madrid for the third season running.
Before that, Remi Garde’s side will be bidding to bounce back from their 2-0 loss to PSG in their last league game when they host winless bottom club Nancy.
Lisandro Lopez is still out with an ankle injury for OL, but captain Cris is fit again and Yoann Gourcuff could feature for the first time this season following ankle surgery.
Lille are another side trying to juggle a Ligue 1 title-challenge and Champions League commitments.
Rudi Garcia’s men play host to Inter Milan in midweek, but first they face a testing trip to Auxerre, who have not lost since the opening day of the campaign.
Second-placed Montpellier entertain Dijon, who sit 11th in the table and have performed the best of all the newly-promoted clubs so far.
Leaders PSG go to another promoted side in the shape of Ajaccio, on Sunday.
The capital club went three points clear at the top after recording their third win on the bounce against Lyon two weeks ago, with record signing Javier Pastore scoring the first goal in a 2-0 triumph.
Just back from international duty with Argentina, Pastore is set to come straight back into the side against the Corsicans, whose Mexican international goalkeeper Guillermo Ochoa should be fit despite missing his country’s defeat to Brazil.
Rennes — who face Celtic in the Europa League on Thursday — close out the weekend with a Breton derby against Lorient on Sunday night.