Press conference

Schmeichel: "On the way"

Before the second leg of the Conference League quarter-final against Basel, Kasper Schmeichel met the press for the first time since his summer unveiling. The Gym goalkeeper was ambitious and positive throughout.

What are your feelings about your Nice adventure up to now?
I think we have had a mixed season. In the second half of the season in 2023, we have found more of an identity and the kind football that we want to play and we have had some better results. So I think it bodes well for the future. This season has been a transitional period at the club because of lots of new players, lots of changes, structural changes. I think when you go through these periods, I was in a similar period with Leicester many, many years ago and it takes time to find the identity of the team and how we want to be playing football, how we want to be perceived. But I feel that we’re well on the way.

For a player with lots of experience, does this Europa Conference League have the same feeling as other competitions?
This is European competition, this is important for every club to be involved in. It’s something that I think enhances the whole experience of the club, like we’ve seen with these games, they attract a lot of attention and it’s good for the club to have international exposure. It’s very important, it’s a very important competition. I got to the semi-finals of it last year and was very close to getting to the final and to be able to have the opportunity to get to the semi-finals again is something I’m very excited about.

You have lots of club and international experience. What will you be saying to your teammates ahead of a game like this?
I think it’s very important for the experienced players to provide stability and provide calmness. I think in these occasions it’s important to remove the emotion and to play the game. I think if you get too emotionally involved in the occasion and what you could achieve, that’s when you start losing focus. The focus has to be 100% on the game and the senior players’ role is to make sure everybody is focused, everybody is calm and to play the game not the occasion.

Can you explain your difficult beginning to life at OGC Nice? And do you feel happy today at this club?
Difficult beginning? I don’t know if it was difficult, it wasn’t difficult for me. I think every time you change clubs there is an adaption period and that’s natural. But for me, I’ve been very happy with how things have gone. I’m not the type of guy who reads into, with the greatest respect, what you guys write. It’s not really something I concern myself with. The difference is know exactly what’s going on and I think you guys hear different things which may or may not be true in certain instances. But for me, I’ve been very happy with the way things have gone the whole season, obviously not the results because we aren’t where we want to be. But like I said in the previous answer, I think it’s a matter of transition, a matter of creating the right culture and identity. As a football fan myself, I know I want instant success for my team but I also know as a professional and having been through these experiences at both Manchester City and at Leicester, that these things take time. But we are well on the way.