With six wins in six games, Marseille is off to its best start ever and two wins shy of the France's Ligue 1 record set up Lille in 1936. Much of the credit goes to veteran coach Elie Baup, who was brought in after Didier Deschampsresigned in the offseason and then took the French national team head coaching job. Baup, who had been out of coaching for three years, credits his time off working as a color commentator for making him a better coach.
"I had the chance to work Champions League matches, attend training sessions and talk with coaches and players," said Baup, who was recently indicted along with his wife on fraud charges stemming from unemployment benefits he received in 2009. "I learned that you must never forget that soccer is a simple game and you must pass that on to your players. I sometimes got caught up in figuring out how to win the ball back, defensive tactics, and forgot the essential thing is the pleasure of scoring goals."
By the end of Deschamps' tenure, the OM locker room was divided between pro- and anti-Deschamps forces. "Baup has brought pleasure back to the team," said veteran winger Mathieu Valbuena. "That was missing a little."
Even more credit goes to Baup because he's gotten results without bringing in new talent. Margarita Louis-Dreyfus, widow of the late owner Robert Louis-Dreyfus, has imposed an austerity program, preventing it from spending on the transfer market.