Ernesto Valverde insists his Olympiakos side are motivated ahead of Marseille clash

The leader of the Greek outfit admits their pre-season preparations have not gone as smoothly as he would have liked, but feels they can take full advantage of playing at home
Olympiakos coach Ernesto Valverde is anticipating a determined performance from his side during their Champions League meeting with Marseille on Tuesday.

The Greek champions have not started their domestic campaign yet as the two clubs they were planned to face, Kavala and Olympiakos Volou, have both been demoted from the Super League after being found guilty of participating in a match-fixing scandal, but the ex-Villarreal tactician is adamant that they won't pay the price for a lack of competitive action.

"We lack match sharpness because our pre-season has lasted more than two months, we've had some late arrivals and some recent injury problems, but I'm not losing sleep," Valverde told "We're looking forward to tomorrow, all the players are very motivated to get their season started."

Opponents Marseille would arguably prefer to be in their Greek counterpart's position, after enduring a horrific start to the new Ligue 1 season, picking up just three points in their first five matches, but Valverde warned that his team must not rest on their laurels, as the French outfit's struggles may work to their advantage.

"Marseille might be feeling pressure as they have not been doing very well in their league, although that could be a disadvantage for us as it could motivate them to do well in a different competition," he continued. "We are in a tough group where every team has a fair chance of progress."

Valverde has an impressive European pedigree, having guided Espanyol to the Uefa Cup final in 2007, but is preparing to oversee his first match in the Champions League, something the one-time Spain international is relishing.

"The home matches are important and we will try to take advantage of this special factor," he concluded. "It's my debut in the UEFA Champions League and I am as motivated as my players."

Olympiakos face Marseille on Tuesday at the Georgios Karaiskaki in Piraeus.