September 13, 2017
Favre: The pitch will tell us if we are better
On the eve of the first day of the Europa League group stage, and before heading a final training session at Arc-en-Ciel Stadium, Lucien Favre appeared at the press conference.
Coach, is the ambition to do better than last season?
Yes. All teams that play in Europe are of a good level. We saw that again during the Champions League matches and during the qualification games, there are no easy matches. It is always very very difficult. These teams aren’t in Europe for no reason: either they did well in the league or they won a cup.
Do you feel that you are better-equipped than last year?
Ajax and Napoli, that makes 3 extra weeks of experience. We can use that as experience, because we have been able to see the level of certain teams. Now, we will see, it will be on the pitch that we will see if we are better.
"OUR OBJECTIVE, FINISH IN THE TOP 2"
Do you feel that your group is easier this season?
Last year we pulled out Schalke who are a very good team, even if they didn’t have the best of seasons, with Krasnodar and Salzburg. I knew them very well. Everybody thought that it was going to be easy, but it’s ridiculous to say something so stupid. I knew how Salzburg played. They are very good pressers, and we learnt that the hard way. They run, they run and it’s very effective. But every year is different. We want to do the best possible, that does’t mean 3rd or 4th. We want to finish in the top two, that’s our objective. We need to give ourselves the chance of achieving that. What’s sure is that it is going to be very very very tight because there are good teams to face. All teams that play in the Europa League are of a good level. We saw that again during the Champions League matches and during the qualification games, there are no easy matches. It is always very very difficult.
"MONACO IS THE PAST"
The win over Monaco, will that improve your solidity?
Everything is relative. But for me, the victory over Monaco is very important for our confidence. To score 4 goals against Monaco, that isn’t nothing. But you always have to be aware of matches that follow international breaks, because it’s always uncertain. There can be some tiredness, because of people coming back late etc. To come back to Monaco, the past is the past and the only important things are the matches that are still to come.
Against Monaco, you played for the first time with a 4-4-2. Do you think we will see you use it again?
What determines the system is the squad. Can that be extended into the long-term with three games a week? Or do we need to change the system against Zulte or on Sunday to be the most effective possible? As I have always said, I would like to fix a system, whatever that may be, and bit by bit, perfect it. For tomorrow, we will see, we haven’t decided yet.
What do you think of Zulte Waregem?
I have seen all of their matches since the start of the championship. They are a team who have a lot of attacking quality, and they are very very athletic. When you put 7 players up at dead-ball phases in their box, that means there is potential. They counter very quickly. They press and then get back into position as a team. It’s not for nothing that they won the Coupe de Belgique. Their league is a good level, without a doubt. Last year you had teams in the quarter finals of the Europa League (Anderlecht and Genk, Editor’s Note), that says a lot. It’s very involved, very athletic and they play with the ball on the floor.
"NO FAVORITE IN THE EUROPEAN CUP"
Who will be favourites tomorrow?
Some will say that it is us because we beat Monaco. But when we lose 3-0 against Amiens, others will say to be very careful this year. It moves very quickly. It’s a European match: there are no favourites.
The Marlon-Le Marchand duo were very effective against Monaco, and tomorrow you will have Dante back. A bit of a headache?
It isn’t difficult because in any case we will need to rotate. In September, it’s alright, but in October, November and December we will have lots of matches. I know very few players who can manage to play 3 games back-to-back in 6 or 7 days. For me it is almost impossible, especially from Thursday to Sunday.