Ligue 1 – Mercato OM – With Igor Tudor, suffering guaranteed on invoice

Ligue 1 – Mercato OM – With Igor Tudor, suffering guaranteed on invoice


Dany Nounkeu (36) is taking advantage of his stay in France not to miss a beat of the latest events that have shaken Olympique de Marseille. And the first days of July allowed him to take out the memory box when he learned of the appointment of the Croatian Igor Tudor (44) in place of the bubbling Argentinian Jorge Sampaoli, who resigned amid disagreement with his management over the recruitment policy.

The former Cameroonian international, who played last season at Arta/Solar 7 (Djibouti), played for six months under the new OM coach, during the 2016-2017 season at Karabükspor (Turkey), until ‘at the departure of the ex-Juventus Turin defender to Galatasaray Istanbul, in January 2017. “Like everyone else, I didn’t expect Sampaoli to leave. But I’m not really surprised that Marseille chose Tudor, because I think he has the profile to succeed there. OM made a good choice. He is used to clubs where there is strong pressure, and personally, I have good memories of him, both humanly and sportingly.

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Nounkeu: “We immediately understood that we were going to suffer”

In this hot month of June 2016, Igor Tudor arrives at Karabükspor at the same time as the one he will appoint several as captain. “He came from PAOK Salonika (Greece), me from Bursaspor. We had also signed our contract the same day, and we had been able to exchange a few words in English. Then we went on an internship to Bolu, a city where the temperatures in summer are lower, and there, we immediately understood that we were going to suffer and work a lot.“, restores the former defender of Galatasaray and Besiktas.

The Croatian subjects his players to intense ground work, probably a legacy of his years spent at Juventus (1998-2007), a program weighed down by numerous friendly matches. “He arrived in a club whose budget was undoubtedly one of the most modest in the Süper Lig, and the workforce had just been renewed. He wanted us to be at the top physically so that we are not overwhelmed from the start of the championship. Me, I had never played so many friendly matches during a preparation.We left the course rinsed!“And the Croatian also knew that he was playing an important personal card, anxious to prove to his new leaders that they had not been wrong in hiring him.

Igor Tudor

Credit: Getty Images

In addition to the two – and sometimes three – daily training sessions, there are numerous friendly matches. Quickly, Tudor imprints its style, made of requirement, work and sacrifices. “Even after the camp, and once the championship started, we worked a lot. His sessions were always very intense. It made us run a lot, it’s true, but Tudor isn’t just that. He likes his team to play well and we also touched the ball a lot. Obviously, as he didn’t give us much rest, as we were tired, some players were sulking and didn’t appreciate his methods, which they considered too harsh.

But he is not closed to dialogue, as Nounkeu maintains. “He is a very intelligent man, he knows how to listen, and at the time, he had a quality staff, including a physical trainer who knew when players were too tired. In fact, Tudor is a hard worker, he gives a lot and he expects the same from his players.

Too much, perhaps, according to Mustapha Yatabaré (36), who plays for Sivasspor (Turkey). “It was the army (laughs). Frankly, he made us work a lot, he is hard, strict, quite stubborn, it was not always easyengages the former Guingamp player. But on the other hand, he is a coach with whom we learn a lot. Yes, we suffer, sometimes we blame him, but in the end, I’m happy to have worked under the orders of a coach who had a great career as a player in Italy!

Yatabaré: “I’m waiting to see him at work in a big club”

His muscular methods had enabled him, during his brief stint at Karabüspor, to obtain almost unexpected results in view of the initial ambitions of the club from northern Turkey, and it was up to him to convince Galatasaray to bring him to the shores. from the Bosphorus. “We beat Trabzonspor (4-0) notably. As we were well prepared physically, we knew how to endure. And it was very difficult to score a goal for us when we opened the scoring.

Igor Tudor

Credit: Getty Images

Dany Nounkeu also remembers a technician requiring a lot of mobility, running, offensive contribution from defenders and defensive work from attackers from his players, but not fixed on his principles of play:

He knows how to adapt to the qualities and faults of his workforce. For example, when we often played in 4-4-2, he tried to make us play five behind, but it didn’t work. I had told him about it. He knows how to listen. As I had several years’ experience in the Turkish league, I was one of those on whom he sometimes relied, but in the end, it is always he who decides. I don’t know what system he wants to use in Marseille, but I am convinced that he will succeed, even in a locker room where there are a lot of internationals. He will be able to manage the egos, but also the pressure, he nevertheless trained PAOK and Galatasaray, where it is very hot too

Mustapha Yatabaré is more nuanced about the chances of seeing Tudor win in Marseille. “I think that between his time at Karabükspor and his signing at OM, he evolved and improved, especially in his communication, because he could sometimes give the impression of not listening enough to the players, even if he has a lodger side. He is an intelligent, cultured, hard-working man, who knew how to play Verona well last season. In Karabük, we practiced mainly in counter-attack. In Marseille, players and supporters will want a possession game. He can succeed at OM, if he manages to adapt well to the context. I hope so for him because I like him, but I’m waiting to see him at work in a big club…

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