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Favre: “We can breathe a bit”

Interview

November 5, 2017

Favre: “We can breathe a bit”

Even though he admitted the offensive difficulties his side had faced, Aiglons coach Lucien Favre was happy to see his side - finally - take home a scrappy win.

Lucien, this win will help a lot…
It was laborious, but it’s good for us. We knew that it wouldn’t be easy. They are a side that are difficult to play against. They beat Nantes, played very well against PSG. We had the confirmation that it was going to be complicated.

Your second half was more complicated, especially given the context…
Yes. At the start of the second half, it’s not surprising. Dijon pressed us high up the pitch. We lost the ball with our backs to the opponent which is very dangerous. But in the end, they only had one clear chance. But we need to move the ball more quickly, in that area, there is lots of work to do.

And what did you make of the first half?
It was a bit better. It was more solid. In Rome, we did well defensively too. We lacked a bit of danger up-front.

Your opinion on Mario Balotelli’s red card?
It’s a shame. I don’t criticise anybody, but it seemed harsh. He has no intention to injure the opponent, he wants to win the ball back. Then again, he comes from behind, the referee has interpreted the laws. Mario wanted to do well. He was annoyed leaving the pitch but in the dressing room it was better. For us, it’s annoying because he will miss the next game.

Your defensive solidity coincides with Dante’s return to form in these last two games.
Exactly. On the whole, it was solid. As I said to you, we still give too many balls away, bad interceptions that put us in danger, some bad anticipation.

Do you hope that your team will show a different face in the coming weeks with the return of injured players?
My prediction is that the whole year will be difficult, I have said that since the start of the season. Points like today, we will need to win them. We could have hoped to have more points on the board, we have lost points carelessly, especially those defeats when we could have drawn. But that’s the way it is, we need to keep working to help this team progress. We will see when a few players come back, but for the weeks ahead, we don’t want to change the system too much.

Do you think that means a little less flamboyance in your style but with more solidity at the back?
We are going to work on that. To defend well is important but to win it back and to move forward quickly is also very important. We need to manage to take the opponent apart. We can’t focus on the returns of the injured players, we don’t know exactly when they will be back.

Did you feel nervousness amongst your side at the end of the game?
Of course, because we wanted to hold on to the result. But it’s too easy to hide behind that. We didn’t have a lot of chances to score the second. But it’s clear that we didn’t want to concede the 1-1, there was tenseness, which is to be expected given our poor run. But we need to live with the pressure.

And were you under pressure?
Do you think (smiles)? I concentrate on my work, I work hard with the team that I have. I am not working less or less well than last year.

A scrappy win like this, could it bring the squad together?
It’s good to get a win like this. On Thursday in Rome, we started the week well. We were better in possession and the management of the game than in previous weeks. We lacked that cutting edge and runs in behind to trouble Lazio. It was very hard to come back from there with a defeat as you can imagine. Congratulations to the players, it wasn’t easy to play a match in the Europa League away from home on Thursday at 9pm and then to play again on the Sunday at 3pm, it obviously will leave a mark. But the players are professional, they have to adapt.

What has satisfied you today?
Above all, to win 1-0 of course. We didn’t concede, which hasn’t been the case for a while now. We didn’t give in. The team is aware that it is very important to find that solidity at the back. Sometimes, you only need one chance to score, recently we know that we haven’t had that flash of brilliance to destabilise the opponent. I won’t talk about last season again, but it’s a big reconstruction project, this year, we have lots of youngsters in the team. They will need time to get them to this level. Today we take the three points, we breathe a little, but know very well that it will continue to be tough, tough, tough, at least until Christmas.