Marseille boss Rudi Garcia warned his players that anyone who fails to perform over the closing games of the Ligue 1 season will not feature in the Europa League final.
OM reached the final in dramatic fashion on Thursday, with Rolando’s extra-time goal against Red Bull Salzburg sending them through 3-2 on aggregate after they had been 2-0 down on the night.
Marseille welcome Nice in a key game in the race for European qualification via the league on Sunday, and Garcia has told his side he expects them to give everything over the last three domestic games in order to earn a place in the team that will play Atletico Madrid.
“If they are not ready for the league, they will not play the final,” Garcia said in quotes reported by lequipe.fr.
“May 16, it’s far away, we do not care, there are two games before then.
“They know very well what I think of the situation – do not think about Thursday anymore.
“We are two points behind direct qualification for the Champions League. We must win on Sunday, we must not let go, we must win our three last games.
“Euphoria can carry us. You have to play within the context of the moment.”
Nice boss Lucien Favre hopes his side can capitalise on a European hangover.
“European football always leaves a mark, with a short recovery time from Thursday to Sunday,” Favre said in quotes reported on the club’s official Twitter feed.
“But as Marseille have qualified for the final of the Europa League, there will also be euphoria.
“It’s going to be a nice game, with a nice atmosphere.
“I can’t tell you in which system or with which team we will play.”
The Mediterranean derby has an extra edge given both sides are in the hunt for places in Europe next season.
Marseille would qualify for the Champions League with victory in the Europa League final, but go into the weekend a point behind Monaco in the race for the third and final spot via Ligue 1.
Nice are seventh, only a point behind fifth-placed St Etienne in the last Europa League spot – unless Paris St Germain win the Coupe de France final next week, in which case sixth would earn a European berth.
Nice’s Brazilian defender Dante expects Marseille to be buoyed by their European progress.
“We will find a strong adversary, full of confidence,” he said.
“Marseille have players who can make a difference. They are also very disciplined, as we saw on Thursday.
“We have taken a liking to Europe and we want to go back next season. We do not have our destiny in our own hands, but we must do our duty.
“It’s a derby which is very important for our supporters. There will be a huge amount at stake, for them and for us. We will have to be at our best and give everything.”