“I can do better, it’s obvious,” admitted OM Ukrainian midfielder Ruslan Malinovskyi on Friday in an interview with AFP, after half a season of adaptation for him and then that Marseille will probably have to settle for 3rd place in the league.
Q: You risk missing direct qualification for the Champions League. Is it a disappointment?
A: “We know we could do better and of course there is disappointment. We dropped a few points that we shouldn’t have lost. But last year, 72 points were enough to finish second We already have 73 with two games to play. We want to fill up.”
Q: How do you judge your first months in Marseille?
A: “There were tactical elements to integrate and I had played little for six months at Atalanta Bergamo. I lacked a bit of rhythm, a bit more connections with others. Maybe also that I put too much pressure on myself. But Marseille is a big club, it’s not easy to win immediately. I can do better, that’s obvious. But I only did four months. The season next, with full preparation and more confidence, I think I will do better.”
Q: Fans were expecting more goals and assists…
A: “I think that at OM, I was better in the defensive phase than in the offensive phase. I spend a lot of energy to keep us compact, to follow my player, to defend. In attack c It’s a little less good. I have to find the balance. The tifosi want goals, assists. But there is the coach, who asks you for something else, and it starts with the defense. If you don’t , the next day he shows you a video with your mistakes, the things you need to improve. But yes, I think I can do more offensively, a lot more.”
Q: There was still a strong moment, this magnificent and decisive goal against PSG …
A: “It’s a beautiful, important goal, very emotional. I knew OM hadn’t won against Paris for a very long time. But I’m not just looking to score. Quality players have continuity. You have to be good eight or nine games out of ten, not once, then bad twice… That’s what I’m looking for. Already when I arrived in Italy, the first 20 games I hadn’t scored. At the end of the day I made 130 matches, scored 30 goals and gave 25 assists.”
Q: You say you watched OM matches with your brother when you were a child. Marseille was already a bit in your head?
A: “Yes I followed them, it’s true. And I also saw Taxi, by Luc Besson! The 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th! I saw them all and not just once. I loved it. So in a way I already knew the city a bit (smile). And with my brother, we watched the matches. I wouldn’t say we were real tifosi, but I knew the team, the shirt, the players.”
Q: When you arrived, you explained that Marseille was a step forward compared to Atalanta…
A: “Atalanta have had a superb five seasons and Gasperini has created a very strong team. But before, they played in the middle of the table. OM are a historic team, which have won trophies, the C1, the championship If I had arrived in another French team, I would not have said that. But Marseille is a club and a city which are N.1 in France, a team which always plays for the first places, with always under pressure.”
Q: The war continues in your country. How do you live it?
A: “The situation is very clear. People in Ukraine want to live away from the Russians. We don’t want to hear about it anymore. Everyone is tired of this war. People lost their homes, children had to flee because the Russians have arrived. For my part, I am doing what I can, with my association Malinovskyi-Charity. We held auctions, collected humanitarian aid. I also met Ukrainian children in a school in Marseilles. . I want to help, give them a little smile in these difficult times.”
Interview by Stanislas TOUCHOT