Press conference

Digard: "It will allow us to learn"

Didier Digard attended his press conference after OGC Nice's draw with Auxerre (1-1). 

Do you consider this result to be a below-par performance?
Of course, it's not what we hoped for but it's a good thing because there are still 12 matches to go and I think that we will have more and more matches against teams that adopt this attitude. It's new for us. I think it's good because it means that we are beginning to worry teams a little. It will allow us to learn and we still have time for that. When it happens at the very end, when you have no margin for error and you just kick yourself, I think it's harder to digest than today, even though we we are of course disappointed.

Can you give us an update on Sofiane Diop?
Unfortunately not. The pain was less intense at the end of the match. I hope that this is a good sign but I would prefer not to get ahead of myself before real tests are conducted. This will happen as quickly as possible.

Was Youssouf Ndayishimiye also unfit to play?
I preferred not to take any risks with Youssouf bécasse there are a series of matches coming up and because I knew that we weren't likely to be particularly under pressure in that area of the pitch. I don't want to take unnecessary risks given the challenges ahead of us.

Your team maybe lacked a little inspiration in the second half to be able to find a way past a deep defence. Is that something that you need to learn how to deal with in the last 12 matches?
Yes of course. But then, it comes down to small details because the start of the second half was really good. We hit the bar, we played really high up the pitch. As always, when you don't take the lead, your head drops and physically you suffer. When you score, everything is easier, you play more quickly… but that hurt us a little.

We could imagine that a player like Nicolas Pépé (in recovery phase), with his pace, could trouble and get around a side playing deep. Do the players that you have allow you to take on this kind of team?

Yes. I think we have a squad that has scope to us to progress, to find solutions even without the players unavailable to us. It's down to us, to me, to find how we can help the team to progress against teams that use this kind of tactic. We know how to create chances, we had 17 shots at goal, that's a lot. We had chances and we should have won this match.

There is almost a week between this match and the first leg of the Round of 16 of the Conference League (against Sheriff Tiraspol): how will you prepare for it?

We need to clear our heads because we have a bit of a headache right now. But then everything will slot into place, we have a session tomorrow morning. We need to manage it well because we have two away trips in the week, so it's a lot of travelling. We will have to be very aware of that. And to speak solely about Europe, of course that needs to be prepared differently because it's a direct knockout, so we can't say we have 12 matches to find an answer like tonight. We need to find it quickly and very reactively.

Will you need to work to find link-up play with Terem Moffi against sides that play deep?

Working to build automatisms, of course. But I don't necessarily need Terem to do so because I have players around him who are very effective between the lines. I would prefer to see him in front of goal and to keep the opposition's defence as deep as possible. Despite everything, he had a good opportunity at the start of the second half. Even if you don't see him and then he scored, that would be fine for me. Of course, he is more comfortable with more space but given the situation he could have scored and the match would have been different.

What was the idea of the permutation between Rosario and Boudaoui from the 70th minute?
The idea to start with was that Hicham was interesting for his runs in behind the defence because we saw that it was something that Auxerre struggled to deal with. Hicham was very, very interesting. Then, I played him in front of the defence because I wanted to be able to break the lines through the driving runs and Pablo Rosario. He is more of a controlling player, a positional player. I wanted to change them and to stop Auxerre from sticking with the same defensive set-up, to push them to think and adapt to us.