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With most European leagues having reach double digits in terms of fixtures played, few have two high-profile coaches of big clubs under fire as Ligue 1 does with Marseille's Andre Villas-Boas and Paris Saint-Germain's Thomas Tuchel in increasing difficulty over the past few weeks.

Both French giants have struggled relative to their individual situations in the Champions League with the Parisiens having lost twice already and Marseille having not even scored a goal let alone picked up a point.

Marseille and PSG continue to push on at the top of the Championnat but Tuchel's men have already suffered more defeats -- three -- than usual and one of those was an ill-tempered unbeaten series-ending home loss to OM.

It is an important period coming up with crucial domestic and continental encounters on the horizon and both the German and Villas-Boas needed positive results this weekend to take some of the pressure off.


The Portuguese needed some relief after another awful Champions League performance resulted in an unwanted new record of 13 consecutive defeats -- the worst in the competition's history -- and he got it on Saturday with Marseille's 3-1 home win over Nantes to close on the Ligue 1 summit.

Florian Thauvin, Dimitri Payet and Dario Benedetto all found the back of the net with Valentin Rongier and Mickel Cuisance providing some of the ammunition at Stade Velodrome on an afternoon when OM paid their respects to the legendary late Diego Maradona.

Thauvin's was his first goal since October to end a run of six matches without scoring while Payet's was his first since early last month and ended a five-game streak and Benedetto's was his first of the season in any competition.

While Marseille's European wounds will take some time to heal, they do still have the possibility of securing third spot and a Europa League berth -- if a moody Villas-Boas actually fancies it -- with Olympiacos within reach if the 1992-93 winners can end their dreadful run.

The brighter news for the Phoceens is the fact that they are now within six points of Ligue 1 leaders PSG with two games in hand because of recent COVID-19 fixture postponements so the Portuguese could still pull this season out of the fire -- domestically.


PSG's midweek win over RB Leipzig should have eased the pressure on Tuchel and while it did in an immediate sense in Champions League Group H, it was still tense post-match as the former Borussia Dortmund boss lost his temper with a journalist who questioned his players' commitment.

"I get the impression that you always ask the same things," said Tuchel at the start of his outburst. "The questions are always the same! Why don't you go and ask them in the dressing room -- if you have the balls to do that. They are dead in there! They gave everything and showed heart.

"I am sick and tired of this -- I am tired of being measured against your expectations! If you have any guts, go and ask your questions in the dressing room. You will see that they are all knackered after giving everything."

While PSG's performance was unimaginative in the extreme, they did take all three points to move back above Leipzig in the Group H table ahead of next Wednesday's trip to Old Trafford with Manchester United a further three in front having already won in Paris.

Timothee Pembele scored an own goal 10 minutes into his full senior debut in an unhelpful 2-2 draw with Bordeaux before a Neymar penalty via Video Assisted Refereeing (VAR) and a quickfire Moise Kean effort were cancelled out by Yacine Adli's lovely finish against his formative club.

The result leaves PSG vulnerable at the top with in-form Lille in hot pursuit and Tuchel's men continue to drop uncharacteristic as the specter of Monaco's surprise 2016-17 title looms large in a season of unexpected happenings.

A win in Manchester will likely keep Tuchel safe until the winter break but continued defective performances will keep the pressure on the 47-year-old who is unlikely to have his contract extended by sporting director Leonardo when it expires next the summer.

The big question is: will he even reach the end of it? Separation feels increasingly inevitable with PSG's collective talents stagnating further with each passing match and Tuchel seemingly out of ideas and desire.