Victory, tactics, Sala: the words of coach Galtier
Here is what Christophe Galtier had to say after the victory against Saint-Etienne on Wednesday (J36, 4-2) in his press conference.
It took you 45 minutes to get rid of the frustration of the final. What happened at half-time?
I was expecting a reaction from my players. I was focused on what I had seen in the first half and, above all, on what I had not seen. In relation to the time we had to prepare the match, there were things that were put in place. They were never applied, for various reasons, which meant that we put in that first half performance. We were caught out in terrible areas and we let Saint-Etienne play in transition. At the break, first of all Dante, our captain, spoke, in his own way, with his experience. Then JC (Todibo) took the floor, in his own way too. Then finally I took the board, my screen, to specify and insist on the fact that we had to respect the positions, it was at this point that things were going to be played out, and obviously, I said that we had to have more spirit. I also mentioned the importance of the third goal when it's like that, it had to be on ours, because at 1-2, we were going to have the ability to turn this game around, which we've already done in the season. What I find incredible is that I think we are one of the best teams in the second half. They (the players) managed to do it with a lot more pace, intensity, risk-taking going forward. It made the start of that second half incredible. But even after that, while leading 4-2, we conceded two big situations. That's the whole paradox of this group, of this team that is always reacting. When they manage to make the difference, they still give their opponents hope.
It's obviously the players' victory...
It's also mine.
How is that?
You let the players express themselves in their own way, with what they want to say about the match. After that, there were explanations, clarifications that were made. The whole staff, my analysts who were upstairs, brought out some pretty important footage that showed where we were in trouble and how we could put them at risk. The victory belongs to them (the players), obviously. They did not outdo themselves, but there was an extra spirit, the desire not to end the season like that, because a defeat would have meant that our season was over. This gives us a lot of hope to fight for the European places, with the game against Lille in three days.
Among these changes, is the role of Mario Lemina, who was a little bit higher on the pitch?
In the first half, we had to send three midfielders, because Amine played in a role under my midfielders. My central defenders had to find a midfielder in behind the striker, and two others higher up, Amine or Mario to maintain width, which was not done in the first half. Mario would come out and play the ball, Pablo was higher up. We had to reverse the roles and put Mario a little higher up. We also had to change the positions that were initially used, put a right-footed player very wide on the right and a left-footed player very wide on the left. Very quickly, my two young players on the wings changed positions and found a lot of width and more space. That's what I insisted on a lot in the tactical area. And then, not to lie to them, but to remind them that they were capable of turning the game around.
How did you deal with the reception from the fans and some of the hostile chants that you wouldn't want to hear in a stadium?
I don't have an adjective to describe what I heard. One of the first reactions in the dressing room was not chants, not cheers, not relief. I know that the club has already intervened through a press release. In the name of my dressing room, my technical staff, my medical staff and my players, we would like to apologise to the family of Emiliano Sala and to FC Nantes. You can hear a lot of things in a stadium, but often we say, or at least lately, that the stands are a reflection of society. We're talking about a few people, but a few people who sang quite loudly. If they're not happy, they can come to the training ground and I'll tell them the same thing. If this is our society, believe me, we're really in trouble. What I've heard is unacceptable. Our players were called names, I agree, but there were also insults about Mrs Frappart. Until we have proof to the contrary, she didn't make us lose the final, we lost it.
I don't see what the memory of someone who died in a tragic accident has to do with it... For me it's surreal. I have no words. You can't hear that in a stadium. If they are going to insult the dead, if they are going to send bottles, they should stay at home. We will win without these people.