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Sep 21, 2012

Barton pleased with Marseille debut

Joey Barton made his debut for Marseille in their Europa League draw with Fenerbahce and hailed the "incredible atmosphere" at the Stade Velodrome.

Barton, on loan from QPR, is currently unavailable for Ligue 1 games after being issued with a 12-match ban by the Premier League and so made his first appearance for the club in Thursday's game.

He was substituted with 20 minutes remaining with Marseille two goals down, but Mathieu Valbuena and Andre Ayew scored late on to salvage the draw.

Barton admitted he had work to do to get back to full match fitness, but added: "The atmosphere was incredible. This is one of the reasons I came to Marseille, to play in matches like this.

"It was a very exciting game and I think we were very unlucky not to win. I really enjoyed playing with my team-mates and getting to know them and how they play football. The team were fantastic - we played really well.

"But I need to make progress. When we scored the second goal, I wanted to celebrate. I stood up [on the touchline] and I had cramp - it was terrible."

Coach Elie Baup said Barton had "always looked to use the ball well" and added: "Physically, he needs time to find the pace of the game again, but that's normal for all players who come back [after missing games]."

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