Olympique de Marseille head coach Michel has credited individual performances for his side's 1-0 win over Montpellier Stade de la Mosson on Tuesday.
MIdfielder Georges-Kévin N'Koudou scored the crucial goal in the 68th minute, just seconds before Florian Thauvin earned himself a straight red card, although the Newcastle United loanee was still the subject of his coach's praise.
"The entry into play of Romain Alessandrini and Florian Thauvin was very important for us," Michel said of the two 59th-minute substitutes.
"We must also underline the performances from Bouna Sarr and [Antoine Rabillard] right from the beginning – but the quality of these two lads changed the match.
"Our first half was poor; we were too imprecise and it was tough to take the upper hand. But we played as well with 10 men as we had with 11. [Thauvin] was too enthusiastic. He apologised to his teammates."
Montpellier head coach Frédéric Hantz also highlighted the impact of OM's star players, although he also blamed his own team for failing take a hold of the match.
"We failed to win this match in the first half and then we lost it in the second," Hantz said. "They have wide players who hurt us with their incisive play: Sarr, Thauvin and Nkoudou.
"But in the second half, Marseille never made it into our penalty area, but we had chances that we failed to put away through a lack of precision.
"We set ourselves up well, about 25-30 metres out, but we couldn't take the danger into the area. The goal came from a small error, but Marseille pounced with a well-played move."