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Favre: “Qualification is deserved”

Interview

November 23, 2017

Favre: “Qualification is deserved”

In front of the press, the Aiglons coach delighted in a qualification that he felt is deserved, without however, forgetting the opportunities that his side had let Zulte Waregem have on the counter.

Coach, mission accomplished this evening, you have confirmed your place in the Round of 32 of the Europa League.

It’s good. It had been a while since it had happened here. It’s deserved, for our wins over Zulte and Vitesse. We had two defeats that were perhaps unfair against Lazio.

How do you analyse this evening’s game? 

It was very tough. We let them have far too many opportunities. In the first half, they countered very quickly. The have forwards who are very quick. After the break, if Leya Iseka had made in 2-1 in the 60th, it could have been difficult for us. From the end of the first half, we saw that we were struggling. The problem isn’t concentration, that’s rubbish. You have to lose the ball less. But I maintain that in the end, we have done something very positive.

What are your ambitions for the rest of the competition?

It will depend on the draw, on us, the players that can recover after Christmas. I am ambitious, but we could pull out a a big side: AC Milan, Arsenal, some big sides who fall out of the Champions League etc. For the moment, we focus on the league again, we can put that to one side until February and then we will see.

Can this qualification give you a second wind in the league where you are struggling? 

This qualification is important for everyone at the club. It’s a nice relief. We can say that we are one of the 32 European clubs who will be there in February. It zaps energy, with games on Thursday and then Sunday, but you can’t look for excuses of being tired, or anything else, we are professionals.

Last year, you were leading Ligue 1 throughout your European campaign and yet you finished last in your group. How can you explain this paradox?

Last year we were drawn in a very difficult group. We lacked experience too. Schalke are a great side, Krasnodar are a very tricky side, and Salzburg have 3 times our budget. This year, you have to admit that the draw was a slightly more kind. In our two matches against Lazio, we weren’t far off of them, but we lacked something. This season, we have struggled but we will get better and better, I am convinced of that, even though it may take time.

“Mario knows better than anyone where to be in the box”

Mario Balotelli was back in the side tonight and marked his return with two more goals…

Mario knows better than anyone where to be in the box. Fro the second goal, if you look back at the replays, he is completely isolated on the corner of the box on the other side of the pitch, and one second later when Plea crosses, he is in the right place. I really liked it when he struck, a bit like a nine and a half. When he played simply with the ball at his feet, it was good. In other things, a bit less. He can still do more in his offensive marking.

Your side shows a stability with Seri which is never the same when he isn’t there…

Seri, in game management, is really something. But honestly, what I am waiting for after this match is to look at the counters that we gifted them, how we lost these balls. Five or six, that’s far too much. Is our 4-4-2 too easy to break? It’s a real question. I had already said this after the 4-0 win over Monaco when we started with this tactic. We still aren’t doing what I want in this system.

A word on Patrick Burner who didn’t disappoint…

He was trained as a right winger. In the last 2-3 years, he has pushed back to full-back. In training, he has done some really good things, he has pace, good technique and two feet. He is a good youngster who is beginning to assert himself, even if for me, his future is more as a left back.

Another positive effect of this qualification is that it will lighten a bit your fixture list with a match that has no importance against Arnhem.

Exactly, we will make the most of it to play those players who haven’t been able to play yet. Whilst at the same time taking it seriously.