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Mandanda: Arsenal are better

Steve Mandanda admits the stark reality of the gulf in class between Marseille and their UEFA Champions League rivals has been hard to swallow.

Last Updated: 27/11/13 at 12:09 Post Comment

Steve Mandanda: Marseille goalkeeper admits they are behind Europe's elite

Steve Mandanda: Marseille goalkeeper admits they are behind Europe's elite

The French giants were European champions in 1993 but, 20 years on, they have lost five from five games in Group F, scoring only five times and conceding 12 goals.

Their failure to progress to the knockout stages, or even to the Europa League, was confirmed three weeks before Tuesday night's insipid 2-0 defeat at Arsenal - a result decided by two goals from England midfielder Jack Wilshere.

Goalkeeper Mandanda knew L'OM were facing an uphill battle when he watched last season's finalists Borussia Dortmund, Serie A runners-up Napoli and Arsene Wenger's Gunners being drawn against them in August, but the actual campaign has been a truly sobering experience for Elie Baup's men.

"We have seen the real difference between a team like Arsenal and us," Mandanda told L'Equipe.

"We were in a group in which the teams were much better than us.

"It's been far from our level. It's difficult to accept that, but it's the reality.

"We have to work hard. Seeing that in the cold light of day, we're not great players, we have to ask ourselves questions."

Arsenal swept into the lead after just 28 seconds when Wilshere broke clear and cut back inside to smash the ball past Mandanda.

The Gunners' sustained pressure through the second half told when Wilshere swept home Mesut Ozil's pass on 65 minutes.

To Mandanda's credit, he had earlier palmed away a weak penalty effort from the Germany playmaker and saved from Aaron Ramsey at point-blank range.

While coach Baup echoed his keeper's damning verdict on the European campaign, he still hopes for a backlash against his critics ahead of Dortmund's sixth-round visit to the Stade Velodrome on December 11.

He said: "When you put yourself in danger and concede in the first minute, that's pretty hard to take.

"The first half was difficult for us - quite laborious - but in the second half we did some interesting things.

"After the draw was made people said that we would end the group stage without a win.

"Let's see if we can make them eat their words in the final game."

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may well get slated by other United fans for this, but out of the three contenders, I'd far prefer Liverpool to win the title. Yes some elements of their fanbase can be a bit OTT, yes they're our biggest rivals and yes it will make our poor season feel even more like the end of an era (Fergie's gone, Liverpool are back on top). However I just have to applaud Brendan Rodgers and the way he's turned Liverpool around in just a couple of seasons. It...

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ooray! We are all excited now, we beat a very mediocre team! With all due respect to WHU supporters, not winning that game shouldn't even be a consideration. This is the problem, there is no winning mentality at the Emirates - we're all congratulating ourselves beating a team that we have a winning record against.

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s this meant to be an aspiration for United supporters? Moyes mediocrity strikes again. I see the Bayern boys don't want to sign for him, and his reputation amongst the senior European coaches make other key signings unlikely.

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