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Lucas Da Cunha: ‘I can’t wait’

Interview

July 8, 2021

Lucas Da Cunha: ‘I can’t wait’

Lucas Da Cunha was recruited by Le Gym at the end of September and was subsequently loaned to Lausanne Sport. After a successful season on the banks of Lake Geneva - his first at professional level - the young attacking player has now settled on the Côte d'Azur to begin his Nice career. He appeared for the first time against Rodez (1-1), and the first goalscorer of this pre-season will face his former teammates this Saturday (Nice - Lausanne, kick-off at 10:00, live on OGCNICE.tv). The perfect opportunity to speak to the young man who is "impatient" to discover the Allianz Riviera.

Lucas, here you are at last at OGC Nice.

I was looking forward to this moment, even though it was agreed from the start that I would be loaned to Lausanne. I spent a good year there, in a very good environment and today I am very happy to be back.

Can you tell us about your arrival at OGC Nice?

I joined Nice at the end of the window. I was offered to stay for a week or two after my medical. But I knew I was going to love it, and that I wouldn't want to leave! I chose to move directly to Lausanne to focus on my season. Despite that, I still watched all of Nice's games.

"I LEARNED A NEW POSITION"

How was your season in Switzerland?

It was my first year as a professional, with an important place in the squad. I had a rather complicated start, I had to adapt. I am usually a right winger to be able to cut in on my left foot. I started in that position, but we quickly changed our system to a 3-5-2 where I was less familiar. I was repositioned as a number 10, behind the striker. I learned a new position and I actually liked it.

That's why you finished the season with a bang (5 goals and an assist in the last 10 games).

(He smiles). Yes, as a number 10, I was really moving around the striker, I was able to get to second balls and take advantage of my shooting to score. It was a good year.

In Lausanne, everyone remembers your goal against Servette...

Yes, in the derby! After a little solo run, I played a one two with Evann (Guessand), went past the defender and chipped the ball over the keeper. It was a great memory. Hopefully I can do the same here!

Da Cunha's run starts at 1'15

"I LISTENED TO FRED GIORIA'S ADVICE"

What were your relations with OGC Nice like during the season in Lausanne?

I regularly had Fred Gioria on the phone, and he even came to see us in Switzerland. It was important to keep this proximity with the Gym. When it was tough at the beginning, he told me not to give up, that everything was new for me, that I had to get used to it and that it would come eventually. I listened to his advice, I continued to work without getting too much into my head, and it paid off! During the season, Julien Fournier also spoke several to my agent several times to tell him that what I was doing was good and to carry on like that. Mentally, I am stronger than I was. I've also improved technically and tactically, although I still have a lot to learn. Now it's up to me to show what I have to show, and that starts in pre-season.

It started well, with that goal against Rodez...

I was proud to score, of course, but that's not what I'm remembering. Above all I'm thinking of the things we worked on in training, and the first lessons we can take away from it collectively. We were able to see what we still had to fix, because the goal is to be ready for Reims (on August 8th at 15:00 at the Allianz Riviera).

How is your integration going?

Very well! I met up with Alexis (Trouillet) that I knew from Rennes and Khephren (Thuram) who I worked with in the French national team. I have blended in with the group and I am learning from training. There are very good players both technically and tactically, and it's a pleasure to play alongside experienced players like Dante or Morgan (Schneiderlin). It helps us improve.

"WITH THE MANAGER, EVERY DETAIL IS IMPORTANT"

What does Christophe Galtier expect from you?

At the moment he has me playing as a right winger. He talks to me a lot. Against Rodez, I was playing just in front of the Nice bench, he was positioning me, giving me indications. With him, every detail is important!

The manager wants his team to have "at least as much energy as the Nice supporters".

That suits me! For me, you have to finish a match "dead on your feet". The most important thing, more than being good, is to give it your all on the pitch. Then, if we are technically and tactically good, we can do great thing. Giving your all and doing your best to help your teammates is what the fans want to see. I can't wait to see the stadium with the fans, I know that when it's full, it will make a lot of noise.

What kind of game can we expect against Lausanne on Saturday?

It will be physical! We will have a tactical and technical side against, we will have to be professional against a young team full of quality.

And you, physically, how are you doing?

We feel better than against Rodez. Of course, our legs are a bit heavy, but we will be better physically this weekend. We have some more players who have returned to the group. These matches will allow us to improve.