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Favre: “We have come back from a long a way”

Interview

December 21, 2017

Favre: “We have come back from a long a way”

At the end of the Aiglons’ draw against Lille (1-1), Lucien Favre analysed the clash in front of the press and gave his appraisal of the first half of this season.

Coach, do you feel that you have lost two points this evening?

No. We didn’t create many opportunities. We scored a goal after some impressive acceleration from Srarfi and a deflected shot. But aside from that, we didn’t have many chances. That’s what was lacking. We kept the ball well, yes, we moved it about, but there was an evident lack of chances. In attack, it was too average.

The encounter was played out in a rather bizarre context...

Yes, it was bizarre, at times we were asking ourselves what was happening. But then, we are professionals, we need to adapt. We knew that there were problems here. We controlled the ball pretty well, but what we lacked was creating danger in front of their goal in the second half. Already in the first half, we didn’t have many chances. It’s not enough.

Do you think there is a lack of freshness?

It’s our thirtieth game this season. We have played ten more than those who haven’t played in the Europa League. Yes, there is fatigue, mental etc. but it isn’t an excuse. We lacked that cutting edge. We struggled. When an opponent sees you aren’t creating chances, they can push closer and closer to your goal and then there you go.

We get the feeling that you could have put the nail in the coffin at the start of the second half, but your side was too soft…

You are focussing on the second half, but even in the first, we lacked that edge.

Without Balotelli, your side struggled more offensively…

Yes but with him last week, we drew 1-1 too. Last week and today, we didn’t have lots of chances, it’s a fact. But it’s true that Mario, he doesn’t need many, to be able to put one away.

“A nice recovery”

You finish the first half of the season in sixth place, it’s a nice recovery!

Yes, that’s true, but we still need to analyse it more closely. To know that it comes down to little details. What has really changed, is that we are conceding less goals, our defence is much more solid than a month ago. When you concede two in every game, it’s difficult to win. This evening, it’s a shame that we conceded a perfectly avoidable goal, from something which shouldn’t really have been a chance.

What appraisal do you make of this half of the season?

We have been through some very difficult moments, that’s the least you can say. The season started with a very important match, the game against Ajax, where we ensured our participation in Europe, regardless of the result against Napoli. Our start in Ligue 1 was difficult, against St Etienne, Troyes etc. We were perhaps too focussed on the European matches at that time. On this level, we met our objective as we reached the Round of 32. In the league we came back slowly, picking up points. We have come back a long way. But now, there are other things to do.

This return onto the right tracks in the league, can it allow you to foster new ambitions for 2018?

Today, I don’t know. We will see. Our recovery started against Dijon. We took a beating against Lyon and we were able to bounce back. At the end of the year, it has been better, that’s clear, but if you compare it to what we were doing last year, there is still a lot of work to do. We have made a nice recovery, we have 27 points but it remains very close. In winning two games, you can be in 5th place, and in losing two, you could be uncomfortable again.