Payet delighted after Villas-Boas agrees to stay as Marseille manager

Dimitri Payet has welcomed the "great news" of Marseille head coach Andre Villas-Boas agreeing to lead the Ligue 1 giants into the Champions League next season.

Former Chelsea and Tottenham boss Villas-Boas had been repeatedly linked with a move away from OM in recent months. However, Marseille confirmed the offer of a contract extension for the Portuguese, who this week agreed to remain at the club.

With the 2019-20 Ligue 1 campaign cut short due to the coronavirus pandemic, Marseille - second at the season's premature end - will play in Europe's elite club competition under Villas-Boas.

For talisman Payet, who scored nine goals and provided four assists in 22 league games this term, the announcement was cause for celebration.

"[Villas-Boas] had all the support from the locker room," the midfielder told Journal de l'ile de La Reunion. "A year ago, few of us would have seen us in second place in the standings with such a small squad. He did whatever it took to be rewarded for achieving this goal.

"It's also great news for me because we had a good season together. He loves to have the ball, and I love the beautiful game."

Payet acknowledged the speculation surrounding Villas-Boas' future but suggested Marseille have grown used to such sagas.

"The recent management of the coach shows OM have grown in crisis management," the 33-year-old added. "Beyond all that we have been able to say, we manage to talk to each other, to find solutions all together, to wash our dirty laundry with the family.

"Despite all that has been reported in recent days, he is still with us. He wants to continue the adventure. This is what counts today. When we say that OM is a family, it's not just words. We really are together, without listening to outside opinions. We are united when it comes to the club."

Former Chelsea, Tottenham and Porto manager Villas-Boas replaced Rudi Garcia in Marseille at the beginning of the 2019-20 season.

On offering him a contract extension, Marseille released a statement saying they wanted to end 20 years of “chronic instability” by building for the future under Villas-Boas.