No Payet regrets for Marseille boss

17 May 2018 12:02:21 EST

Marseille boss Rudi Garcia has defended his decision to start Dimitri Payet in the Europa League final defeat to Atletico Madrid in Lyon.

Garcia admits his captain was unsure about his fitness going into the game against the La Liga side, which Marseille would go on to lose 3-0 after Payet went off injured in the first half.

The Marseille boss suggested that, even half-fit, Payet had helped set up the best chance of the match for his team.

Payet rolled the ball through to Valere Germain in the opening five minutes only for the midfielder to fire wide of the target. Marseille failed to create any more decent chances until the 80th minute, when substitute Konstantinos Mitroglou hit the post with a header.

Even diminished, he set up the (Valere) Germain chance.

Rudi Garcia

Garcia has no regrets on his decision to start Payet, insisting it was a risk worth taking.

"I chose to start Dimitri, one of our best players," he told reporters.

"Even diminished, he set up the (Valere) Germain chance. We also missed him from set-pieces as Atletico, if they do ever concede, sometimes concede from set-pieces.

"We hoped that he'd be at 100 per-cent and we gave him a fitness test this morning.

"He was worried about playing and whether he'd be able to kick the ball hard. He didn't aggravate the injury today, he just wasn't fully fit. In matches like this you have to take risks."

Had Germain taken his chance before Antoine Griezmann scored for Atleti, it could have been a different game, argues Garcia. Chasing down a deficit against Diego Simeone's side was never going to be easy.

"We missed our chance in the first half," Garcia added.

"We had the best chance first up and then we made a mistake that cost us a goal. Against a team like Atletico you cannot afford to fall behind as it becomes difficult."

Payet will be hoping to recover his fitness for the World Cup in Russia next month where he should link up with Griezmann in the French squad.

Les Bleus are 13/2 to win the World Cup, while they are 7/2 to be beaten in the semi-finals and 3/1 to lose in the last eight.

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