Marseille coach Didier Deschamps says victory in the Coupe de la Ligue final cannot paper over the cracks of a largely disappointing season - but insists he takes great pride in leading the club to the trophy for the third time in a row.
Brandao scored the only goal of the game seven minutes after coming on as a substitute in extra-time as Marseille edged out ten-man Lyon at the Stade de France last night. The Brazilian struck with 15 minutes remaining as Marseille, who also won this competition in 2010 and last year, brought some respite to a miserable run by claiming their first domestic win in 13 attempts.
"It's hard to win trophies. I'm proud of it, even if it doesn't change the fact that we've had a difficult season in the league," said Deschamps, whose side sit ninth in Ligue 1 after their slump in form. "But these trophies, no one can take them away from us or me, even my worst enemies. That's the reality of the situation."
OM's campaign began with a thrilling 5-4 win over last season's double winners Lille in the annual Trophee des Champions, while their Coupe de la Ligue final appearance was supplemented by runs to the quarter-finals of both the Coupe de France and UEFA Champions League. "It's a bad season - but one with two trophies and a quarter-final appearance in the Champions League!" Deschamps added.
Deschamps reserved special praise for match-winner Brandao, who continued his fine record in the competition after also scoring the winner in the semi-final victory over Nice - which was the third year in a row he had struck at that stage. "What a bargain Brandao has been," said Deschamps.
"I've kept a few of the articles that were written about him when he returned (from two loan spells in Brazil). It's true that his technical ability isn't above average, but he is strong mentally, has self-belief and scores important goals."
For Lyon, a disappointing night was compounded by the sending-off of Dejan Lovren two minutes from the end of extra-time following an altercation between a number of players from both sides. It was a moment that summed up a fractious, untidy match, and Lyon coach Remi Garde admitted his side were simply not up to the task on the night.
"We didn't produce the kind of football we had been hoping to," said Garde, who had been hoping to bring an end to the club's four-year trophy drought. "We were timid, and made a lot of mistakes. Marseille contributed to that, they pressed us well.
"It was a really tight game, not very spectacular. It went Marseille's way, because they got the bounce of the ball from a tackle. Experience makes the difference in finals and they had won this trophy two years running. My starting line-up had as little youth in it as possible, but it's not our youth which cost us the game, it was Marseille's overwhelming experience."