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CAF Champions League
By ESPN Staff

New coach Gerets ready for Marseille challenge

MARSEILLE, September 26 (Ligue 1) - Eric Gerets insisted on Wednesday that he had no fears over taking the job at Marseille that many consider one of football's poisoned chalices.

The Ligue 1 outfit has been one of Europe's serial underachievers since its glory days in the late 1980s and early 1990s, a period of success that was tarnished by match-fixing scandal.

Gerets was named on Tuesday night as the successor to Albert Emon after a poor start to the Ligue 1 campaign by the Mediterranean giants.

But he claims he has no fears of taking the reins at the Stade Velodrome.

Gerets told the club's website: 'If you are afraid you should not go to Marseille because it is a big club with lots of pressure.

'I was at Galatasaray for two years and now there is nothing that frightens me.'

In fact, Gerets revealed that he could have had the Marseille post before had it not been for Gala.

'I am happy,' he said when asked about his new challenge. 'With a bit of luck I could have been coach of OM a year earlier but the president of Galatasaray would not let me leave.

'It had been a very positive contact and I am glad they are still thinking of me.'

The Belgian, who has also coached Standard Liege, Lierse, PSV Eindhoven and Kaiserslautern, compared Marseille with Gala.

'Two years in France will give me a good chance to experience things with the fans,' said Gerets. 'The fans are like the Galatasaray fans. I was very happy with the warmth of their fans and I think it will be the same with more fans in the stadium.'

Gerets is raring to go, saying: 'I am counting down the hours before training begins.

'The best thing about being a coach is working with the players, having a good understanding, motivating them. It's my first time in France and I am sure the staff and players will welcome me well.

'I hope the team will be worthy of the people of Marseille. It's one of the reasons I came here - if things go well the atmosphere is exceptional.'

Meanwhile, Marseille president Pape Diouf revealed he hoped Emon would stay involved with the club.

Diouf told the club's website: 'When he (Emon) signed the contract, knowing what the job entails, he knew it would not be for long,

'But we made it clear to him that if he had to leave the post he would get a coaching role at the club. That's what we are discussing.'

Diouf continued: 'In the next days, we will identify the role that is suited to him, considering his knowledge of the game.

'He has given so much to the club as a player first of all and as a coach or member of the coaching staff that we still need him.'

Diouf admitted it would be possible that Emon would be lured away from the Stade Velodrome, saying: 'Even I can not exclude that a big team, a Ligue 1 team, could ask for his services considering the quality of his work over the last 15 months.

'But for us he is part of the community and it's because of that I would say today that he will stay with us.'