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January 22, 2021

Lees-Melou: 'Don't try to be too pretty'

Sidelined since the Dijon defeat in late November, Pierre Lees-Melou was back for the last half-hour against Bordeaux on Sunday. Fit again, the 27-year-old talked to us before Saturday's trip to Lens (kick-off 5pm CET).

Pierre, have there been periods comparable to this one since you arrived at the club?

Yes, of course, it's not the first difficult period I've gone through. During my first year with coach Favre we started really badly. I think we were actually in the relegation places at one time, and we were able to react. There are always difficult moments in a season. But you have to avoid having too many of them and above all ensure that they're not too long. That's the toughest thing.

How do you get out of such a spell?

You can't try to be too pretty. What we need are challenges, contact, be more clinical, a spark, and points. There's only that that gives you confidence and which gets you back on a positive run. When we're on a run like we are, the only thing you can do is roll up your sleeves and turn it around.

Are the senior players even more important in these times?

My character is to fight. Whether we win or lose, I never give in. So yes, you have to show that and transmit it even more so in these kinds of times.

You've had two injuries since Adrian Ursea arrived as coach. How has this time been for you?

At the end of the Dijon game, I felt my ankle, something wasn't right. The coach changed shortly afterwards. And when I returned, I broke my wrist. I would have preferred to be injured when the team was playing well. I've had to suffer along with my colleagues without being able to help them. When it's like this, you try to battle to get back as quickly as possible. It's always better to do it in a good atmosphere rather than a tense one. That's why I'm happy to be available. I played a little against Bordeaux, and would like to carry on.


Where are you at physically? 

I've been doing 'athletics' for a month. I've not stopped running, because I wasn't allowed to have physical contact. I worked on my stamina and my technique individually with Christo Juras [fitness coach responsible for recovery]. It's not the same rhythm as playing games, but we've worked well all the same.

The games against Lorient and Lyon before the break were difficult. There   had been some signs of progress before Bordeaux though…

Absolutely. In Metz, we were playing well, we had the ball, we were leading 1-0. We shouldn't have come out of that game with just a point. That's part of the negative run which we have to get out of.

When things aren't going well is it better or worse not to have the fans there?

It's worse. We like to feel our fans there, pushing us on when we get close to goal, to push Walter when we defend. We mustn't look for excuses. The situation is the same for everyone, but it's true that we're really missing them.


On Wednesday, the fans expressed their unhappiness… 

We understand them, we hear them. We are just as unhappy as them with the current situation. They should know that everyone in the dressing room is aware of the urgency of the situation. None of us are shirking responsibility.

And Lens? 

There's urgency. That's been the case for the last two or three matches. But once again, we don't want words, we want actions, because there have been too many negative results.