It has proved a weekend of mixed results for the Portuguese trio of coaches in Ligue 1. An entertaining set of matches – all of which ended 3-1 - provided differing fortunes for Leonardo Jardim, Paulo Sousa and André Villas-Boas.
Portugal international Pedro Mendes scored his first goal of the season in a convincing 3-1 win for Montpellier over Jardim’s Monaco on Saturday evening. There was also defeat for Villas-Boas, with his Marseille going down 3-1 at Amiens on Friday night, but better news for Paulo Sousa’s Bordeaux, who ran out 3-1 winners at Toulouse.
"They deserved to win" - Jardim
Montpellier’s thrashing of Monaco brought a sharp end to the recent upturn of form produced by Jardim’s side. The home team had the game wrapped up on 55 minutes when Andy Delort put Montpellier 3-0 ahead, with Florent Mollet’s opener and Pedro Mendes’ close-range finish having had Michel der Zakarian’s side two goals up at the break.
Jardim then watched his side pull one back through Wissam Ben Yedder’s beautiful chipped finish, but an all too familiar occurrence soon followed as the Monegasques were reduced to ten men. Russian midfielder Aleksandr Golovin’s late lunge on Brazilian defender Hilton resulted in an appropriate booking. The sending off is Monaco’s 4th in 9 games this season.
After the match Jardim, who had Gelson Martins on the field for the full 90 match and introduced Adrien Silva for the closing five minutes, conceded that his team were well beaten. “We were not at a high level of intensity,” he said. “We did not manage to progress like the previous two games, playing as a strong and aggressive team. We gave away some balls and let the opponent play, which caused both goals in the first half.
“In the second half we came back with better attitude, a lot more positive and aggressive, closer to what we are looking for, but Montpellier played well and scored the third goal. They played well, I think their win is deserved.”
Sousa’s Bordeaux flying high
Paulo Sousa watched his Bordeaux cruise to a comfortable win at Toulouse which lifted his side up to the top four in Ligue 1. Sousa’s men led from the first minute following Nicolas de Preville’s opener on 56 seconds, and the diminutive forward had also struck the bar by the time Brazilian left-back Pablo doubled the visitors’ advantage with less than 20 minutes played. The game was over in the 53rd minute when Korean Hwang Ui-Jo scored from long range, before Efthymios Koulouris’ consolation on the hour for Toulouse.
Despite his team’s ever-improving form, there was no sign of complacency from Sousa in his post-match comments. "Perfection does not exist for me,” he said. “The first half was very good. We had the opportunity to score further goals to give us confidence and calm, to better manage the second half. The start of the second half was very good, with a chance for François Kamano to simplify the game and not give the opponent confidence.
“Afterwards, Toulouse was given the opportunity to believe in getting a result. We gave the space and the possibilities of counterattacks. Our defence once again brought us peace, and with the changes we controlled the match with the ball. The team must continue to do this even better, especially late in the game. The team needs to improve a lot.”
AVB left trying to “find the balance” as Marseille enter slump
The weekend began with a lively match between home side Amiens and André Villas-Boas’ Marseille on Friday evening. Although Marseille dominated possession, racking up 68% of the ball, Villas-Boas’ side were never really in control of the game and the home team were more clinical in what was an evenly contested game until Amiens wrapped up the win during injury time.
Speaking after the match Villas-Boas, who has seen his side go four matches without a win in the league, admitted that Marseille somewhat played into their opponents’ hands. “After three draws, it's a blow for us,” said the former Porto coach. “We always gave Amiens confidence with their counter-attacks and they have defended well, congratulations to them. We were not able to equalise and then I don’t give too much importance to their third because we pushed for the 2-2.
“We did not deserve a heavy defeat like that. We're going to drop a few places in the league and it's going to take a bit of confidence away. I'm responsible for the loss, I need to find more offensive and defensive balance to win matches.”
Marseille slip to 7th with the defeat, three points off the Champions League places heading into the international break.
By Sean Gillen