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FA Cup tickets fall from space

The Toe Poke

OM keeper hits out at criticism

Marseille goalkeeper Steve Mandanda has hit back at his critics but acknowledged: "I'm not having the best season of my career."

Mandanda, 28, has made a number of high-profile errors for his club this season, but after a run of four clean sheets in as many games helped lift Elie Baup's men into second place in the Ligue 1 table, he told La Provence he deserved some credit.

"Today, I'm not exactly in great form. I'm not having the best season of my career," the France international and OM captain said.

"It's true that, in other circumstances, I've been in better form. But sometimes it [the criticism] goes over the top."

He told the club's official website that "certain bits of criticism weren't justified", explaining: "There was even some before the game with Bordeaux [on Friday], even though I'm enjoying a rather good spell right now.

"I don't agree with everything that's said, but what can you do about it?"

With OM having recorded ten 1-0 victories this season, the highest number by any team in Europe's five major leagues, Mandanda can claim a major contribution to their success.

Few expected the 1992-93 Champions League winners, who spent little in the summer and finished in mid-table last season, to be in contention for the Champions League again this time.

But they have been in the top three since December - with the top two qualifying for the Champions League group stage - and Mandanda said: "The objective is to pick up as many points as possible.

"If we can finish second, all the better. If not, we need to at least finish on the podium, because we've been there since the start of the season, and it really would be a shame not to finish there."


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