'Marseille remain ambitious in UCL'
Andre Ayew believes that Marseille can still qualify for the last 16 of the Champions League despite losing to Arsenal in their opening game.
The 2-1 home defeat means that the French side are already under serious pressure in Group F -- especially with a trip to Borussia Dortmund and a double-header against Napoli to come.
Last season’s Ligue 1 runners-up produced an enterprising performance against the Gunners, however, and midfielder Ayew, 23, is hopeful that they can bounce back.
"We have to remain ambitious," the Ghana international told Le Parisien. "While we’re here, it’s important not to throw in the towel. We’re going to give it everything in Dortmund anyway. It’s make or break.
"But as we said to each other, what do we have to lose in this situation? Nothing, I assure you. We’ll be going to Germany with one thing on our minds."
Marseille had plenty of chances against Arsenal but a Jeremy Morel error in the second half allowed Theo Walcott to slam home the opening goal.
A second from Aaron Ramsey gave the visitors breathing space and Ayew feels that Arsenal’s greater experience made the difference.
"We played well overall," he said. "We’re good enough for the Champions League and proved that tonight.
"But in this competition you have to demonstrate more experience, maturity and efficiency, whether it’s in attack or defence. It’s a good omen for the future even if it’s obviously disappointing to lose at home."
Arsenal went in front after 64 minutes when Morel’s poor attempted clearance gave Walcott a chance but Marseille coach Elie Baup defended the former Lorient left back.
"There’s a feeling of disappointment and frustration because before Arsenal opened the scoring, I was very satisfied with how we played," Baup said.
"We’re not going to weigh down one player who up to then had had a great match, notably in neutralising Walcott, one of Arsenal’s best players. He paid dearly for the error."
Baup knows that his team now face an uphill struggle to qualify for the last 16 but he was given some encouragement by his opposite number, Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger.
"I don’t think that Marseille are doomed in this group," he said. "I’d remind you that two years ago we won the first match here but afterwards Marseille qualified by going to Dortmund and winning.
"The most important thing for them is to take positives out of this match and not to be discouraged. I think there are many reasons to be encouraged after their performance this evening."