Digard: "Great to see the club filled with joy"
In his post-match press conference, Le Gym's coach focused on the spirit showed by his side during their win against Lille (1-0).
Didier, it may have been less flamboyant than during the first match against Montpellier, but it's without doubt a win that will make a difference to the spirt of your side, in terms of self-sacrifice?
Yes. I said it after the first match, the hardest was yet to come. We couldn't expect to win every match 6-1. Today, we played against a very good team. Despite that, we still showed some great stuff. We may have been under pressure at times, but from our phases with the ball, and when Lille looked to transition quickly. Aside from the situations that we gifted them, we were well set-up. We were able to take advantage of the chance. It was a different match, but I am very pleased with my players' performances.
What is the latest on Nicolas Pepe?
Nicolas had some discomfort with his knee yesterday. We decided to wait until this morning to take the decision. We preferred not to take any risks, because he is an important player and especially because we knew that we had players that were capable of getting up to the level needed for this match.
What did you make of the performance from his replacement, Badredine Bouanani, who picked up an assist on his first start?
He is a young player, who comes from Lille in fact. It was a leaving present from Julien Fournier. I had him with me for several matches with the reserve team. What I liked is that he showed me the same thing in a Ligue 1 match. He is a youngster who isn't afraid of the ball, who is very comfortable technically, who drives forward and who creates things. It was a good performance for a first start, and even more so against a good opposition in Lille.
Before the match, you highlighted the intensity of the training sessions. Were you satisfied with what you saw this afternoon?
Yes, I was very pleased. As I was with the players who came on off of the bench. They allowed us not to drop our level or rhythm. The opposition saw players that didn't give up and continued to put in the effort. At the end, even though we weren't down to 10 for long, we were ready to put in the effort needed. At no moment, did I feel that we were destabilised by that. It's a real strength for us to have such spirit and intensity which are beginning to become quite important for us.
Is it a repeat of the injury for Youcef Atal?
No, because he was coming back from an ankle injury. This was behind the thigh. What I am hoping, is that it's not serious and that he went off at the right time. We didn't take any risks so as not to make things worse. I would prefer to finish with 10 men rather than risk forcing things and losing him for even longer. I have players who are able to continue to put in the efforts needed when down to 10 men. The most important thing now is that Youcef recovers well. That he doesn't worry, we will continue to work for him and we will wait for him to join us again.
In three matches, we have seen a Nice team that has won twice and picked up a draw. A team that gives a lot, brings a lot of intensity, and puts on a show. On a personal level, how are you finding this situation?
Does it provide a guarantee that you will remain in the role? Is that your objective?
No, not at all. It just makes me happy to see the club filled with joy, to see the coaching staff working for the good of the players, and the players getting behind the work that is given to them by the staff. I am really enjoying it. I am not looking for anything else, I am not looking for guarantees, I am not looking to the future. I am enjoying it, and in life, that's important. It's good to look forward, there are people with long-term projects, and I respect that. But I am not looking any further than this evening.
You talk about enjoying yourself. The supporters are able to enjoy coming to see OGC Nice play again. Is that also something that is important for you?
It's crucial. I said it. Nice is nothing without its supporters. We have a passionate region, we need one and other. What I like is seeing people at the stadium. There still aren't enough of them there in my view. I hope to be able to encourage more down too. The moments that you spend with them like today, of course it's enjoyable. Seeing people happy and to recognise themselves within the team, that's a huge source of satisfaction.
How do you find those moments with the fans in the stadium? Are you slightly more withdrawn than when you were as a player or do you get to fully appreciate them?
I savour it when I get home. It's true that you need to take that out of the equation when you are on the pitch. You have to think clearly, there are important decisions to be taken, you need to be in your bubble a little. But I make the most of it every day. Every day when I get up, when I go to training, or when I get in my car and head home, they are exceptional moments. I have all of my family who come to the stadium, we won, I am coaching my team in Ligue 1, my club. I can't say that anything much better could happen in my life.
In these first three matches, do you consider that you have succeeded in transferring what you want to see in the team?
Things are never perfect, in any case, perfection doesn't exist. But the commitment of my squad tells me that we are going to be able to achieve great things together.
A word on the transfer window. Can you tell us about the situation with Terem Moffi?
This question on the transfer window comes at the right time because I am not on social media, I haven't been able to calm people down. I was asked a question about Terem Moffi on Friday. Marseille have taken him as theirs. I said that Terem was an intelligent lad because he has a club that wants to sell him to one club, which isn't his choice, and he is not being pressured and want to come to us. I think that it's a form of intelligence to not be dictated to, despite the money on the table. It's nothing against Marseille. I was just making a comment on the player and the way he is managing this situation.
Do you hope that he will sign for Le Gym?
Of course. When you see how many clubs are interested in a player like that and his stats, of course we are hoping that he will. Would I be disappointed if he doesn't? No, I wouldn't be disappointed, because I love my squad. Will we have other reinforcements? Honestly, I dont know. As I said, I don't like getting ahead of myself and I like focusing on the players that are here. Today, all of the players that I had available were here, they are doing well, they are in shape, they are happy to be here and are working hard. That's what I am focused on.
To switch the focus back to the football, you said that you aren't looking further than today's match. Very quickly, there is a match coming at Lens. With the results that there are and the type of style you are looking to play, you are maybe going to go into a tricky match. Do you feel that this match could be a very important turning point for what is to come?
We are in a position where it's tough for one match to be less important than another. We missed so many opportunities and our confidence evaporated. Now every match is important. It's true that it's a bit of a special week. I don't think there are many teams who will face Lille, Lens and Marseille in one week. There are more chances of winning the lottery. We have attacked the week well with the win over Lille. Now we have two more very big matches, against teams who are at the top of the league and deserve to be there with what they have shown. They will be ready for us. Even more so, because yesterday (Saturday), they drew, and when you want to go toe-to-toe with Paris, you can't afford to drop points. So they will want to bounce back at home. And we will want to continue our good run, so it should be an interesting match.
Lens have won all of their matches at home…
I am disappointed that you didn't ask me if I am worried. Usually, that's what happens (smiles). What Lens are doing at home is incredible, in terms of results, atmosphere and the way they play. It will be a very good match, but we are going there for ourselves, to continue our run, and not to bring Lens down. It's the fixture list that has decided that it's against them. We just hope to continue what we have been doing in recent times.