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Favre: “It’s encouraging”

Interview

December 10, 2017

Favre: “It’s encouraging”

In his press conference, Lucien Favre appreciated the global performance of his side and his top scorer, Mario Balotelli.

Lucien, this win must delight you! 

It’s a huge source of satisfaction, yes. Already in terms of the game we produced, because we managed to break down Nantes, which wasn’t easy. On the whole in the game, we had a huge amount of possession, around 60-40, that’s not bad. The win wasn’t undeserved. We gave them several several gifts from passes that we shouldn’t lose. Little technical errors could have cost us dearly because on the counter, they are a side who move incredibly quickly. We came here knowing that we could do something but also having big problems. They are a team who are are physical throughout, who play up-front, and they scored from a counter. But generally, we managed them well, it’s encouraging.

With these three consecutive victories, we don’t have the same impression of the first half of your season as we did ten days ago...

It’s good for everyone. It’s now three wins on the trot. You can see that it comes down to minute details. Toulouse at 10 against 11, we turned the game around, the win against Metz too, these are important psychological triggers. In the matches we lost, apart from against Lyon, it came down to very little too. Today, we held on, we were good, didn’t struggle too much. It wasn’t a danger from every wave.

Your offensive trio proves to be decisive once again, with the two goals and one assist.

I have always said it. Last year, they (Plea - Balotelli, editor’s note) alternated most of the time, this year, they are playing a lot more together. Alassane needs to pull out to the left but he cuts back in, he scores. Saint-Maximin had a good second half, the crosses were making it in, it was very dangerous on two or three occasions. When he manages to vary his choices a bit more, he will move to another level. He is still in full learning mode, but it’s already a good level. He is 20 years old (smiles).

At the other end of the pitch, Walter Benitez saved you with an incredible save!

Ah yes, that’s a great save. From the bench, you say to yourself “ah no…” when you see a header like that. It was also impeccable when he came out at the feet of the striker, without a foul, without a penalty, it’s perfect.

Do you think there was a foul for the Nantes goal?

From the bench, honestly, I didn’t see it, but it does seem that there was a foul on Malang. What I did see just before though, was a very bad piece of control...

“Mario took the important things from the game”

Like against Toulouse, you managed to win the game despite conceding the first goal…

When we conceded, we said to ourselves that at Toulouse, we came back and that did a lot of good mentally. There is still time, we can do it. We remained calm, there’s no point in running after the game, we needed to wait patiently. Then everything falls into place, we scored from a set-piece. After the break, it was more calm, with a nice goal from Balotelli.

Balotelli, put in a big performance this evening…

He was very involved, in his sprints, his positioning. I think he took the important things from this game going forward. It started in the training sessions yesterday and Friday and it translated onto the pitch today. He is also getting up to a different level. For me, he still needs to improve certain parts of his game, to get to the level he said he wanted to be at, but this evening, honestly, it was very good.

You have found your confidence again. And ambition too?

It is still going to be difficult. Every day is tough, we will continue to take matches one after the other. We are back in action on Wednesday in the Coupe de la Ligue, with another trip (to Lille). For the teams involved in Europe this season, it becomes a big build-up of games. And then we play back-to-back with games against Bordeaux and then again against Lille.