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Interview

August 11, 2017

Favre: 'It will take time'

Down but not out, Aiglons coach Lucien Favre declared himself unsurprised by the lack of fluidity in his side's play after seeing half of his starting XI leave in the off-season.

We can imagine you're a bit frustrated after a scenario like tonight's…
It was a match we could have won. We had chances, so did they. We had four clear-cut chances. Troyes sat fairly deep and were very well organised. They commit very few fouls and they're hard to move around. We need to be patient and play faster. Find the gaps. There wasn't enough action on the flanks. Sometimes we broke through in the middle. But we conceded two goals… remember the beginning of last season? They were close matches too.

Is it not just a question of good fortune?
No, it's not. Troyes were dangerous on every counter-attack. We played better for eight or nine minutes at the beginning of the second half and the killer was that that was exactly when we conceded.

Your team seemed unbalanced at moments…
There's a heap of things to correct. It will take time. We need to re-establish our flow and our pressing once we lose possession. If we only defend at 85%, we won't succeed. We need to get back on a stable footing and feel secure in possession, but most of all we need to improve when we don't have the ball. But it's not all negatives.

What did you make of Saint-Maximin's debut?
He has had two training sessions with us. For a first hit-out, it was very positive: his play created a lot of danger. In terms of collective play, there is a lot of work to do, but that's normal for a 20-year-old. We need to determine his ideal position and ideal duties.

On the other side of the attacking three, Lees-Melou has a tendency to cut inside…
He's not a right winger, so we’re not going to make him hug the touchline all night. I adapt to the players I have. It worked well against Ajax. Tonight he dropped to deep because the opponents were very compact. It went better after the Mahou came on - he balanced our midfield.

Does the fact of playing Champions League qualifiers explain your difficulties early on in Ligue 1 this season?
It's not that. There are just a few things causing it. In Saint-Etienne, we didn't play a bad match. It's just the start of the season and we lost five or six first-team regulars in the summer. It will take time to find the right formula. One off-season in Germany, I lost three important first-teamers, and it wasn't easy, so imagine how it is having lost five or six. But it's not too serious; it's a big challenge. Whatever the result against Napoli, we will have some mid-week rounds, which will slow down the frequency of the training sessions we have to work on our tactical systems. Let's just hope we'll be staying busy on Tuesdays and Wednesdays…