November 14, 2017
Lusamba: “To continue and to do more”
During this international weekend, Arnaud Lusamba answered questions from OGCNICE.com. The 20 year-old midfielder spoke about the squad’s start to this season and the final sprint of 2017.
Arnaud, you are now into your second season with the Gym and we get the feeling that you are getting into your stride…
It’s also the feeling that I have. My first season was very, very complicated, but I think that it did me a lot of good mentally. It helped me a lot and allowed me to grow. Even if it took me time to understand certain things, now, I get more of what the coach expects of me. I feel good.
How do you analyse your return into the starting 11, against Paris (22 October)?
The week before the match, the coach lead me to understand that I had a chance of playing. He brought out his line-up, and I was in it, and for me, there were lots of mixed feelings. Lots of pleasure, because it had been a long time that I hadn’t started a match. And then disappointment because of the defeat (0-3). We knew that it was going to be complicated, it was, but I still enjoyed it. The pitch was good, it was a high level. It makes you happy to get a taste of it again, it drives you on to want to continue and to do more.
You played at number 8 in the Parc, then at 10 for the last thirty minutes against Lazio.
The coach knows that I am more of a central player and that I like playing there. But then again, I am here to help the team, like everyone else. If I am needed to play on the wing, there’s no problem. I will still give my best.
As a squad, you have been through a very difficult time before the international break. Have you ever been through one like it before?
Yes, at Nancy, during my first season as a pro (2014/2015). It was more or less the same thing. When that happens, you get the feeling that things are becoming more difficult, even if it is just a period. Nothing works. When it’s like that, you need to get your heads down and start doing the simple things, the basics. And bit by bit, you can turn it around.
“For the moment, we are sticking together and then we will go again”
Have you found explanations between yourselves?
At times, we feel that we control games and then at the end, it escapes us in a flash, like against Marseille. I don’t know, maybe we stepped back thinking that, in any case, it’s going to be alright. But teams won’t let us win, they are there to take points. And the important thing, like we saw against Dijon, it’s the win. Only the win. It will be like that until we can find our right dynamic and style of play. It will come from the head, intensity and aggressiveness. For the moment, we are sticking together and then we will go again.
The win against Dijon could prove to be a turning point?
It did us a lot of good before the international break, especially in terms of morale. But before speaking about a turning point, we need to back it up. Now, we have worked well this week, we will do the same next week, that way we will be ready for Caen (kick-off on Sunday 19 November at 3pm). During the break, the coach and the staff are making us work hard and, at the same time, managing everyone so that there are no injuries when we come back.
Do you still believe in the chance of having a good season?
We know that we have the ability. If we are all convinced that this will be the case, this “bad period” will be nothing more than a bad memory. But it doesn’t hurt, either, to hit the bottom to be able to bounce back. It’s painful, but it will do us some good.
The Coupe de la Ligue will also begin during the final sprint of the calendar year (away trip to Lille on 13 December)...
We are coming in during the Round of 16 and, in a couple of matches, we could get into a final. This year, the coach has insisted that: he really wants us to have a good run in all of the cups. That can give a different side to a season and to help us to push on. And then in the cups, it won’t necessarily be the same players that play most in the league. That can create a real emulation.
What do you make of Caen, your next opposition?
Last year, we fell to our first defeat there. They played very well, they defended well. Time goes by, there are lots of fixtures, but we still have it in the corner of our minds. Now, we are going back to their place, and at the moment, we really need victories, so we will need to put in a good performance.
How would you describe the opponent?
They defend well and, above all, have a very good forward, Ivan Santini, although I am not sure if he will play. He doesn’t need much of a chance. We need to stay concentrated. It will be a good match.