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Favre: “This evening, that was good enough for me”

Interview

December 2, 2017

Favre: “This evening, that was good enough for me”

Aware of the difficulties faced by his side, the Gym’s coach Lucien Favre was however satisfied with the result and the three precious points which allow the Gym to climb up the table.

Coach, a difficult match, but a win nonetheless…

This evening, that was good enough for me. It’s a relief. We have picked up 6 points from two back-to-back wins. It does some good. But we are aware of the rest.

What do you mean by that?

The work to be done. The balance of the team, I have often spoken about it. We need to play better as a team. Metz had opportunities, but in their last 4-5 games that I have watched, they had chances too, except against Marseille where they only had one big chance. This evening, they didn’t have many but what annoys me is the goal that we conceded. We could see it coming. We gave it to them, we were caught on the counter, there’s a cross and we have a numerical disadvantage in the box.

What did you make of the 4-3-3 with the Plea - Balotelli - Saint-Maximin offensive trio?

I am aware that we are still in the ‘testing stages’ on certain things. At the start of the match, it wasn’t too bad but the longer it went on, the more we realised that we needed a bit more weight up-front, hence why we changed and went into a 4-4-2.

Plea found the back of the net for the first time in a while, that will be good for him…

Plea is more attracted by the middle of the pitch. He played on the wing at times in the past but we could see that he was tempted to cut inside. But for a couple of matches or for a part of a match, he can play there.

A word on Allan Saint-Maximin, a spectacular player but with some things still to change…

There is huge work to be done. But he has only just turned 20, you can’t forget that. He knows it, I have told him that. He has lots to do, today we make the most of his main quality, his strength in one-on-ones, and he also scored a nice goal this evening, which was very good for us. He needs to improve in his tracking back and tactics etc. But I will say it again, he is only 20 years old. I see that a lad like Srarfi who is very young too, is making small progress too, slowly but surely. Their work is beginning bear fruits, but that takes a lot of time, it’s not going to happen in 2-3 months, it takes a lot longer.

You have now picked up two wins after the defeat against Lyon. Is that due to a reaction from your side or because of weaker opposition?

Against Lyon, we weren’t good, I have already spoken enough about that. We should have done a lot better. It’s still difficult to play against everybody. Look at the results this evening. Monaco just about beat Angers, Strasbourg beat Paris… Ligue 1 is a very good standard. The promoted sides are very organised, with squads where there have been no players leaving, they know where they are at, their systems are well-oiled.

Mario Balotelli scored his 12th goal in 14 starts. His efficiency in undeniable…

Yes, that’s why it’s difficult to separate Alassane and Mario. If we separate them, it means we have less chance of scoring. But then we need to be careful with the balance of the team, that’s the priority. We need to improve defensively and in our pressing up-front, if not, we can barely trouble the opponent.

You are now coming back to get in and around the top 10…

I will repeat what I said to you. Up until Christmas, it will be very tough. We will face teams who are very strong, very athletic, who have stayed the same as last season. We will focus on Arnhem, where there will be several changes. But with Nantes, Lille twice and Bordeaux, it’s going to be difficult.

Next week, you have a slight break in a busy calendar with a Europa League game in which there’s nothing at stake.  

We will make the most of it to play a lot of youngsters, but not only youngsters. We need to have some experienced players too. There will be a huge run-in after this match. We will leave certain players in Nice for the trip and we will work in two groups to prepare for this match and at the same time, the game against Nantes.