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Favre: “Napoli were too strong”

Interview

August 23, 2017

Favre: “Napoli were too strong”

In his press conference, the Nice coach recognised the superiority of the opposition and pointed to the absences in his team on Tuesday evening.

Coach, can we say that Napoli were too strong and that Nice are in its place in Europa League?
Napoli were too strong, but the Europa League will be very hard too. When we pulled out Napoli, I knew straight away that it would be very difficult for us. They are a team that I know very well. When I was with Gladbach I was already watching them a lot, they have a very interesting way of playing. It’s is pretty much the same team as it was three years ago. They are well established, tactically, technically and physically they are very strong. It was too difficult for us. We had already pulled Ajax out and that wasn’t easy. But against them, we were better as a team

Were your players at their best this evening?
There wasn’t enough investment defensively when we lost the ball, for certain players. With that, there is no chance of playing well. I am not even talking about the result. We weren’t as good as we were in Amsterdam where everyone worked, at the breakdown, when marking.

Sneijder and Balotelli were featured for the first time together at kick-off. But they weren’t quite at 100%…
Sneijder, it’s of course, logical. He played well against Guingamp, but to be back at it again on the Tuesday, it came a bit too soon for him. Mario wasn’t really with it, you have to say so, I should have taken him off sooner. We found ourselves at the end when Ganago came on, a youngster that nobody knows, who is only 18. In Napoli, on the bench, we had 5 players who had played in the reserves a few days earlier…

Did you fear a heavy defeat in the first period, given the Neapolitan domination?
We needed to hold on as long as possible. We were very open, because we weren’t good defensively, and I am not talking about the defenders. We weren’t there at the breakdown. As I said, if you aren’t there in those areas, it’s impossible to play well.

A wish for the Europa League draw?
All the teams should be feared. And then in any case, we can’t choose so…Now, this evening, I am not thinking about that, I have other fish to fry.

It will be a very good level too in any case…
The Europa League, it’s difficult no matter which opposition you face. For example, you face Limassol, you think that it’s easy. But they have just qualified for the Champions League. It’s very complicated to come out in the top two of a group of four. Then everyone sees that we aren’t at the same level as last year, it’s clear for everyone. In the breakdown, our movements, the intensity, we are light years away at the moment.

Does what was missing tonight worry you for what is to come?
It’s not worrying. Against Guingamp we played well. We worked hard, combined well and defended. If we don’t have that, it will be difficult against everyone, without fail. Last year it was already very difficult with lots of 1-0 or 2-1 victories, so why would it not be more difficult this year? A team derails quickly, but they can get back on the rails very quickly too. It’s like a cake, with an ingredient missing or one that shouldn’t be there, it changes everything and becomes uneatable. The last 15-20 minutes, we finally played with movement, that is the positive. Earlier, I spoke to you about the youngsters I had on the bench in Naples, that isn’t to be negative. Especially when they are good youngsters. But it’s a reality, we need to give them time.