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Pierre Ménès: “I have no doubts that Nice will climb back up…”

The witness

October 25, 2017

Pierre Ménès: “I have no doubts that Nice will climb back up…”

On Tuesday, Pierre Ménès left the City of Lights to head for the softness of the Côte d’Azur. The star journalist from Canal + travelled to the Aiglons’ training ground to meet Christophe Jallet*, “the most Parisian of the Niçois or the most Niçois of the Parisians”. Aside from the interview, he swapped his interviewer hat for one of an interviewee. And kicked-off the Paris – Nice encounter on Friday with the cheek and impact we have come to expect from him.

Pierre, from the capital, how do you envisage this match between PSG and the Gym?
We don’t envisage it at all. You have to understand that in Paris, people don’t care about football. You can have a full Parc des Princes, and still the vast majority of the people aren’t concerned by it. Paris is a city that is made up of people from the provinces: it is, for example, the biggest Breton city in France. So people couldn’t care less about PSG – Nice. And what’s more, at the moment, they are still under the charm of the “Clasico”. We are still talking a bit more about that than we are about the visit of Nice.

And for Parisian journalists?
It seems like it will be difficult for the Gym, because they will be arriving on the back of four consecutive defeats in all competitions. And I think it will be even harder for them given that PSG were very bad against Marseille and will need to react. Also, this match without Neymar, who is suspended, will give the chance to other players to show what they can do. For example, it could be one of the last chances for Angel Di Maria to earn himself a place in the team. Which is good news for Christophe Jallet, who will find himself with Di Maria and not Mbappé in his zone…

What do you make of the current L1 leader’s form?
PSG, have somewhat, begun “a bad period”, even though it is difficult to say that when the team has picked up 8 wins, 2 draws et 3 wins without conceding a goal in the Champions League. The games against Anderlecht and Marseille were’t good in terms of content. So Paris will either confirm this “bad period” and the Gym will have a chance, or Paris will be fed up with it and they won’t stand a chance.


“Since the arrival of PrEsident Rivère, the Gym has changed dimensions”


So the key to the match lies purely at the feet of the Parisians?
In Ligue 1, all matches depend solely on PSG. I had said that OM would have a chance if they put in a great performance and Paris put in a very bad one: which is what happened. If Paris had played very well, Marseille could have done as they did and they still would have lost. For Friday, it’s the same thing. If PSG confirm those doubts that we began to see at Anderlecht and saw at Marseille, maybe Nice will have a chance to trouble them. But not if they are up for it.

You have known OGC Nice for a long time: nowadays, what is the image that you have of the club?
It’s a club that I knew mostly in difficulty, especially financially. Since the arrival of Président Rivère, the club has changed dimensions. This training ground is proof of that. Now, it’s not because the club finished 4th and 3rd in the last two seasons that means that this must become a habit. Nice still have the 10th highest budget in France, so a place in the top 10 is a successful season. For the moment, they aren’t there, but I have no doubts that they will climb back up the league, because they have enough quality. 

What did you make of the last game that the Gym lost against Strasbourg (1-2)?
Even though the match wasn’t at all reassuring, I still liked the entrance that Sneijder made in the second half. Nice need to rebuild itself. They lost out majorly with the departure of Belhanda and the two wingers, but that’s the way with clubs like the Gym who see players move onto ‘bigger’ clubs.

We saw one Gym in September (4 wins and a draw in 5 matches), we now see a different one in October (4 defeats in 4 outings): what is the real level of this side?
Seri is a very important player, maybe even too important. The team relies on him a lot. When he isn’t there, it can be seen so clearly, because he is able to link the midfield with attack and without him, given the players up-front who don’t defend, the team is almost cut in two. A bit like PSG to be honest. It’s down to (Lucien) Favre to find the solution, I don’t doubt that he will find it…

Y.F. / C.D.

*The interview will be diffused on Friday evening, before kick-off, in the "19h30 PM" show that Pierre Ménès hosts (on Canal + Sport). The full version will also be available on the Pierrot Football Blog.