Mandanda ready for ‘small final’

With two rounds remaining, the teams are level on six points – six
points behind leaders Chelsea – with only the top two in the pool
progressing to the last 16 of the competition. Spartak currently
hold that coveted second spot having beaten Marseille in their
opening group match, but Mandanda wants to see his team change that
at the Luzhniki Stadium. “Victory is imperative if we want to
qualify for the knockout rounds,” he said. “We know European
football is a requirement so facing Spartak tomorrow is like a
small final for us. “We know we must win there to achieve our aim
of qualifying for the last 16.” A 1-0 win over Toulouse at the
weekend saw Marseille climb to fifth in Ligue 1, and striker Loic
Remy believes that will stand them in good stead for the trip to
the Russian capital. “We are very confident going into the match
and we know what we have to do,” he said. “With the state of mind
we gained from winning on Saturday, I think we have a really good
chance.” Spartak were soundly beaten 4-1 by Chelsea in their last
European outing, while their domestic campaign has also faltered
with a 3-1 loss to city rivals CSKA Moscow at the weekend. The best
they can hope for now is a fourth-placed finish in the Premier
Liga, but Marseille boss Didier Deschamps does not think their
opponents’ poor league form will influence their European campaign.
“I expect there to be several changes in the Spartak side for
Tuesday’s match from the one which played on Saturday,” he said.
“Their defeat will not change their mood a great deal nor their
desire to beat us.” Spartak boss Valeri Karpin is set to be without
Sergei Parshivlyuk (knee), Alex and Ari (both thigh) for Tuesday
night’s clash, while Benoit Cheyrou (groin) will miss out for