Press conference

Galtier: “The players took responsibility”

In the press conference after the game, Christophe Galtier gave his thoughts on Le Gym’s 4-1 victory over Marseille in the Coupe de France quarter-finals.

Coach, there was everything tonight, the show, the crowd, the qualification.

There was a great atmosphere. I think there were two good teams on the pitch, with different styles. We qualified, that was the objective. The two days that followed our bad performance - our non-performance - against Clermont were important. The players took responsibility for the match. They deserve credit for that. It was an intense game, with an unfortunate goal after two minutes. And that's when we said "let's crack on", with a squad that has been greatly reduced by injuries and Covid, without Jordan Lotomba, Kasper Dolberg, Walter Benitez and Danilo... We had a much lighter squad, we had played three days ago. But the players reacted very well. I thought they were interesting in what they offered. Interesting defensively, but also in their ability to want to play. After that, we were able to score some good goals, come back quickly, then take the lead and extend the lead quickly in the second half. It became an easier game to manage.

Is it the first time since the start of the season that Le Gym has been consistent for 90 minutes?

No, it's not the first time, but yes, tonight there was consistency, and we needed a lot of it. We also needed determination, concentration and character to play, to bounce back after our game on Sunday. I liked the way the players played, we had to stand firm at times, when we were suffering, especially at the end of the first half. When we won the ball, we lost it too often, even though we had time of possession which allowed us to set up our game. In the second half, when we quickly extended our lead, there also a change in the organisation of Marseille, so it took us a little time to readjust and put them under pressure. And finally, we played in transitions and we were successful in these transitions.

Does this performance make you regret Sunday's?

No, Sunday is over. That's the way it is, there's nothing you can do about it. There might have been a little apprehension and fear. But the players responded to this big game. Tonight, we had to play a very big match. To beat Marseille, you always have to play very well. The team was able to do it, with a lot of character and a lot of control.

Do you think this match will encourage people to come to the stadium more and more?

The fans come whenever they want. It's up to them to support the team. We have fans, supporters, spectators. We are in a very sunny region, one hour from the ski slopes, the beaches are open even in winter because the weather is good. Everyone finds their pleasure where they want to. But tonight, all our supporters must have been happy. While everyone was announcing a Marseille victory, it was then that we felt a surge of solidarity from our supporters.

« Justin had a great game »

Christophe Galtier

In the middle of a great collective performance, there is Justin Kluivert's...

He lacked stats, assists and goals. He was coming on strong since his return from injury, but he was struggling to finish. I opted to put him on the right side for specific reasons. I knew that on that side he was going to be more of a passer, and that he wasn't going to be expected to play on his right foot. It paid off, which is shown by what he did in the match. He had a great game.

Do you agree that the winner of this match will be the one with the best chance of lifting the French Cup?

I read that. You know, you don't have much to do when you're a coach, so I took the time to read and go to a lot of websites which said that it was a great opportunity for Marseille to win the Coupe de France. You have to be very humble, even if I'm not saying that for the people of Marseille, who didn't say anything. In football, a lot can happen in a few days. The history of a match is never written. I know the draw, I know that we're going to face Versailles. I knew that at Sochaux, when I was assistant coach to Alain Perrin, we had eliminated some big teams. There were still Nantes, Marseille and Montceau-les-Mines in the semi-finals. We drew Montceau-les-Mines... I remember well that we had to wait until extra time to qualify. To say that we would have preferred to draw Monaco, Nantes or even Bastia, no. But we will have to take this match very seriously. As it approaches and on the day of the match, we will have to assume our status and go into a bubble, because the whole of France will be behind Versailles, the underdogs. And that's normal! We will prepare ourselves between now and then, and I hope that we will recover our players to be able to play our matches in the league. We have one in three days against Lyon, against a big team that beat Marseille at home. We will recover well and see how much freshness we can inject if we get some players back.

Do you feel that you won the tactical battle?

It's very difficult to answer. We had obviously looked at Marseille, who have changed their organisation and their style of play in recent matches. I was able to see what happened against Lille - when Lille had 11 men - and I saw what happened against Lyon in the second half. We took some information. It's not for me to say whether we won the tactical battle. I have a lot of respect for Marseille's coach, Jorge Sampaoli, my players played the match they had to play in a very particular context, Marseille at home. They knew how to step up to the plate.

After knocking out Paris and Marseille, do you think it would be a waste not to go all the way?

Yes, but there is still this semi-final. It's good to be there, but obviously there will be a lot of expectation from all our supporters and from all of Nice for this semi-final. I hope it will be great joy to go to the Stade de France.