Rudi Garcia targets European football with Marseille

Rudi Garcia said he hopes to propel Marseille up the table and qualify for European football at the end of the season after being unveiled as the Ligue 1 club's coach.

Garcia, 52, signed a three-year contract at OM on Thursday, becoming the club's first permanent coach since Michel was sacked April, leaving the team in the hands of his assistant, Franck Passi.

Passi steered the side away from the relegation zone, but their 13th-place finish last term represented their worst performance since 2000-01, and with the sale of the club to American investor Frank McCourt only completed on Monday, Passi was left in charge as the team made a sluggish start to the current campaign.

Garcia will head into his first game in charge, against Paris Saint-Germain on Sunday, having had just two sessions with his new squad, who are currently 12th in the table, five points above the relegation zone and as many adrift of fourth place.

"I'm proud to be the coach of one of the best teams in Europe, and best in France. I'm ambitious, I think the shareholder liked that," former Roma boss Garcia said, referring to McCourt. "It'll take time, but there is the basis for success here, and it must be magical to succeed here."

McCourt has said Garcia's stated ambition to guide a team to Champions League success had convinced him to appoint the former Lille coach, who steered the northerners to a domestic double in 2010-11.

For the moment, however, Garcia is setting his sights somewhat lower.

"First we have to get into top half of table, but we have the cups to play for, nothing has been decided yet," he said. "We're not favourites in the league, but I hope that this season we can please the fans, and I can look them in the eye and they can be certain that we will sweat for the shirt, we'll work, and we'll do everything to give the OM badge some of its shine back in France. I hope we'll qualify for Europe at the season's end, but it's a bit far away for the moment."

After success with Lille, Garcia joined Roma in 2013, and led the Giallorossi to consecutive runners-up finishes, even breaking the club record for points in a Serie A season.

New OM president Jacques-Henri Eyraud, sitting alongside Garcia at Friday's press conference, outlined his reasons for appointing the coach.

"For us, he has had exceptional success, notably in the last five years," he said. "There was, of course, the double with Lille, but also an exceptional performance in charge of a foreign club. We have a global project, and Rudi is one of the rare French coaches to have succeeded abroad. That was very important for us in our choice."