Olivier Ntcham speaks after Marseille loan controversy and boss resignation: Celtic midfielder hopes to bring positivity and personality
The French midfielder’s move was rejected by the first-team coach at the Ligue 1 club – but completed without his knowledge - leading to an explosive press conference and the former Chelsea and Spurs manager offering his resignation. He has since been suspended by the club.
Ntcham’s interview with Marseille’s official club website was far less controversial and the 24-year-old pledged to bring his ‘personality and positivity’ to his new team-mates.
Neil Lennon revealed Ntcham had been eyeing a move for some time before the move was finally completed on deadline day, despite a travel hitch and the player remaining grounded in Scotland before the deal went through.
As well as Villas-Boas, sections of the ninth-placed side’s fans also criticised the move after uncovering comments made by the Frenchman in support of arch-rivals Paris Saint-Germain.
But Ntcham said: “May they all welcome me and I hope we will do great things together.”
He added: “It’s a great pleasure to sign for Olympique Marseille. I didn't believe it at the very beginning but the more the minutes went by the more I believed it OM is the biggest club in France with the biggest passion, with the biggest supporters, they have accomplished great things in French and European football too.
After a ‘very good learning experience’ playing in the UK with Manchester City and then later Celtic he went on: “It was a bit complicated to adapt to the start in England then everything went well I learned several different game-styles, English, Italian and Scottish football.
“It’s the first time that I’ve played in Ligue 1, it’s the first time that I’ve discovered ‘French football’. It's a new experience for me – a new challenge for me.”
Of his new team-mates he added: “I knew Pape Gueye. He was much younger when I was in Le Havre. He was really much younger. I knew Max Lopez before he left too.
"I want to bring my personality already to energize them, bring a lot of positivity and I hope that we will do great things together.”
Ntcham sat out the midweek draw with Lens but could feature on Sunday night against PSG.