December 17, 2017
Favre: “A clear revival of confidence”
Lucien Favre analysed the victory of his side against Bordeaux and its resurgence at the end of this year.
Coach, I guess you must be happy and relieved after this match.
It was very tough at the end. The arrival of Malcom, Cafu and the change of system put the momentum in Bordeaux’s favour. Until then, we had the match in hand. Then Bordeaux managed to play higher up the pitch. They had a couple of chances but we defended well. It was important to keep that one goal lead. We had chances to get it to 2-0. On the whole, we managed the game well. It was tough but deserved based on the full game because we had the possession and the chances. We lack a bit of that cutting edge to be able to unsettle even more the opposition when we have the ball. From this match, it’s the main thing to correct. But it wasn’t bad, we don’t like playing against a 5-3-2 that much. We were able to remain patient, we moved it from left to right, without giving chances for Bordeaux to break, because we know that Kamano - De Préville are both quick.
Mario Balotelli made the difference once again!
With chances, it’s important to put them in the back of the net. Last year, he was playing one match in every two, it was either him or Alassane. This year, they are playing together most of the time. Alassane is not at his best on the left, because he is tempted to cut into the middle, but it’s not bad. A Eureka moment for Mario? I don’t know, but he is more of a team player, in terms of getting back in and pressing at times. He helps the team more, and offensively, he is moving better. He comes back. What he is doing is very positive. And above all, he is scoring… We will try to get by in terms of goals without him in Lille.
In the last couple of matches, the return of Sarr in the middle, and Le Marchand on the left seems to be working rather well…
Yes. For Max, it’s his 3rd match in this position. He needs to get used to it. He is doing it well. It’s not easy to go from the middle to play at left-back, it’s easier the other way round. It takes time to adapt but it’s good for us to get a left footed player on the left. For Malang, he was very concentrated throughout the game, it was very good.
Adrien Tameze has been picking up some starts in the last month.
He has put in some good performances recently. There is still work to be done. He came from Ligue 2, from Valenciennes. But it’s positive.
You are now in sixth. Is this more than you could have hoped for?
There wasn’t any particular hope. We came back well, you can’t forget where we were just a short while ago. We reset things at the start of November by beating Dijon, at Caen we could have won it. Then, we qualified for the Europa League. There is a clear revival of confidence. But it’s very tight every time. We will continue to work, to work on the system, even though it isn’t certain that we won’t change it again. But by fixing it, we will improve our automatic reflexes.
What have you held onto from the dark period that you went through in October and November?
We needed to stay calm. To analyse what wasn’t working, and to work. We needed to force our luck, sometimes it came down to very little.
What conclusions do you take from this first half of the season?
First of all, it’s not finished. But with 26 points, it’s true that we have come back well, as well as the qualifications in the Europa League and the Coupe de la Ligue. We will have a tough start in 2018 with Toulouse, Monaco. And we know that Lille will be expecting us on Wednesday, it will be very tough.