André Villas-Boas took to social media on Saturday evening to praise Marseille after his side were confirmed as runners-up in Ligue 1, following the French government’s decision to end the season amid the covid-19 pandemic.
Marseille were six points clear of Rennes in 3rd when action was halted after 28 rounds of the campaign, representing a big improvement on last season’s 5th place finish. Villas-Boas’ men had lost just once since October in the league and their final position sees them qualify for the next edition of the Champions League.
Ex-Porto boss Villas-Boas took to Instagram to make a statement, which ended with a tribute to former Marseille president Pape Diouf who died last month.
"Runners-up of France! What to say? Which words to choose? Where to start? What an extraordinary feat!
"So many moments of joy, so many explosions of feelings! Summarising this season between brilliance and exceptional moments is too easy because it has been so for several consecutive games.
"What has marked and often marks the teams of choice is the ability to reinvent themselves in the face of adversity, whether it is when it hits bottom or when dreams escape us. We were a group! We were a team. We knew we were consistent and had the right word and the right reaction to each other.
"This state of mind is felt on a daily basis in communion with everyone. Another's problem is my problem. It was like that every step of the way. Thank you all without exception. To my brilliant and unrivalled players who, with a lot of effort and selflessness, gave everything in every game.
"To Frank McCourt and Jacques Henri-Eyraud. To Andoni Zubizarreta and Albert Valentin who brought me to this wonderful city of Marseille and allowed me to know the strength of the Velodrome and the unique passion of its inhabitants.
"To my staff, travel friends, my kings of skills. To the decisive and tolerant medical staff who have achieved unique results this season. Administrative and logistics staff attentive to every detail. To Rani who is always everywhere to solve problems. To Elodie who has a crazy Portuguese by her side. To everyone who participated in this wonderful trip, thank you.
"In this sensation and this desire to burst out in joy, we are brought back to reason which alerts us to the sad moment we are living. We would trade all victories and trophies for each of the lives lost. To the fans who are currently overwhelmed by these same sensations, who want to cry out with joy but where the tear persists in retaining passion, thank you! Thank you from the heart! Your strength and your sense of demand forced us to respond. This victory is also yours.
“I would like to finish by dedicating this second place to the former Marseille president Pape Diouf."