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Favre: “We need to get down to work”


October 22, 2017

Favre: “We need to get down to work”

In his press conference, Lucien Favre looked over his side’s performance and their problems at the breakdown.

Coach, this is your fourth consecutive defeat, it’s worrying…

If you look at the other defeats, it’s not worrying when you consider at our level. But today, it wasn’t good. Certain defeats hurt and take time to digest. Today, we didn’t start well. The first 20 minutes, we were beaten, you have to say that. Going into a 4-2-3-1 after, we were more stable, we got back to playing normally. We had one and a half chances in the first half, they had more. At half-time, we said that we needed to stay calm because we had the time to come back. If we had got it to 1-1, that would have changed everything psychologically. But we conceded a second too quickly, once again. We had a couple of clear-cut chances after, but we needed a penalty to score…

You can’t hide when there is a global balance issue with the system. We are unbalanced. We are not good enough at winning the ball back as a team. Last year, we could press very high, not this year. We need to find the solution for us to be more efficient. We will need to win matches by battling. I can see only one thing to do: Work.

The start of your game was completely missing… Is there a psychological problem?

The 4-3-3 didn’t work. We didn’t win the ball back, Strasbourg created too many chances. We have really felt that the defeat against Marseille hurt a lot. For the players and also for the staff. But you have to accept it and move forward. We don’t have a choice. In Montpellier, we played well, we had chances and we didn’t score. That is a lot. There is an accumulation of things which play on our confidence, we need to work hard, to push ourselves in training even though with matches every 3 days, we can’t do too many interesting things in training at the moment.

We need to be a lot better in our ball recovery. Today, we had some big holes, it came from everywhere. We need to work as a team of 11 players. If we do it as 10, 9 or 8 players, it’s impossible, you are dead.

Your colleague Thierry Laurey who was here before you in the press conference said that he isn’t worried for Nice, that you had several extenuating circumstances given your schedule, your injuries…

(He interrupts) We won’t move forward if we continue to search for excuses like that. You need to forget it. Last year, we played well after the Europa League matches, even though we know that it’s complicated. For me, it’s not the problem. The problem is that we aren’t solid enough. We aren’t putting in the final effort, we have things that we are forgetting, we aren’t closing down certain passes. An accumulation of little things. It begins up-front, then continues in midfield and in defence.

A word about the absence of Balotelli?

He received a knock on the calf against Lazio. We tested it yesterday, but it was too soon. We will need to see how it goes, but for the moment, I am not worried that he will be out for the match against Paris.

His efficiency would have helped… 

Mario needs support. And Alassane too. In playing together, they have the support, it’s automatic. The repercussions are that our midfielders need to be able to defend a lot. We need to find the complementarity between defending, having wingers who push on, strong central midfielders etc. But by playing both of them, we can’t play a 4-3-3. Some players from my squad can’t play in every system. We need to find the balance to be able to have the right mix between attack and defence.

Speaking about systems, when you changed during the match this evening, you have now played 4 different systems in one week…

With Europe in midweek, we needed to change things and therefore adapt the system. As I said to you, some of my players can’t play in certain systems because of their profiles. I will have to make choices. But it’s certain that we will need to settle on two or maybe three systems max. Any more and we won’t really know where we are at.

“We won’t be good until we improve our ball recovery”

You can see that Seri’s absence in the middle is a big handicap for your side…
He had a very rushed pre-season, with the national side in June. He arrived at our trip in Divonne on the last day and so, he couldn’t have a proper pre-season. He played against Ajax without being ready. Then, there was the transfer situation, which wasn’t great for him and was maybe difficult to take, but it’s ok, there are worse things. I think I said to you at the time that he was going to come back but that there would be repercussions afterwards. Now we need to get by without him until 17-18 November, it’s one of those things.

How will you approach the match in Paris with the current context, having lost four consecutive games?

When you lose… confidence evaporates quickly. But you can’t stay focussed on confidence. You need to work in training, to be more accurate, to find the stability again. But I will say it again, we won’t be good until we improve our ball recovery.

Does the points situation, with 10 points from 10 games, worry you? Nice has been so used to looking ahead, are you now thinking about looking behind you?
The others will get points and we won’t. It goes very quickly. The start to the season was very very difficult for us. We got going again in September, but now, it is tough again. We need to be ready to get down to work. We need to win matches “the hard way”. The league is a very good level, there are no weak teams. We need to fight for them. If we don’t, be careful…

Can we use the word crisis?

These are delicate times. We need to try to analyse why and to remain calm. We need to play more football quite simply. Sometimes, we want a bit too much, basing ourselves on what we did last season. We move forward without imagining that we can be hit on the counter. I always say that a good team is already thinking about defending whilst attacking, and thinking about attacking whilst defending. We are missing that a bit.