Digard: 'We'll never freewheel'

Didier Digard gave his thoughts on Saturday's 2-1 win over Rennes at the Allianz Riviera.

Your team defended well in the first half, and attacked better in the second. Is it the kind of performance you expected from your team?
I was a little disappointed with the first half, because we had really worked well in the week to clearly identify the areas that we could exploit, and we didn't use that at all in the first half. We showed the players at half-time, corrected it well in the second half and it paid off. It was a very solid match, because we had a very good opponent up against us, but I would have liked more consistency and that the overall display was more like the second half than the first.

What were the changes you made at half-time?
We had worked a lot on getting our defenders and Hicham [Boudaoui] so that there were three players when we were playing the ball out. They're a team that is very much like us, that defends in a 4-4-2 and attacks in a 4-3-3. We changed shape to make sure we were three-on-two when playing the ball out and then finding our wing-backs very very high and wide, something we didn't do well in the first half and did very well in the second.

So you have mixed feelings about the performance but you're happy with the result?
For me, it wasn't consistent enough, we just played well in flurries. Even at the end of the game when we were bringing the ball out less well, I didn't like it that much. I can understand that there was a lot at stake, and perhaps they did well not to listen to me at times to play it long, but I really prefer when we play, especially as we have the qualities for that and each time we relied on playing our way out of trouble, it's worked.

Badredine Bouanani's brilliance sparked the win, but he struggled in the first half…
The thing that disappointed me about Badr’ [Bouanani] is that I thought he wasn't courageous enough at times. He wasn't taking on people one-on-one, he wasn't setting the tempo. But it's hard at that age to string performances together. He was anonymous at the start, and now of course people defend differently against him, so he has to adapt. Everyone reboosted his confidence at half-time, and it worked well for him in the second half.

These back-to-back wins show the team isn't free-wheeling to the end of the season…
That will never happen. I'm answering the question because I'm being asked, but for me it's really unthinkable. I've known some of you for a number of years, and you know that will never happen with a squad that I have anything to do with, and I want to see even less so in this club with the expectations we have, so for me it seems totally logical.

You said Moffi had been disappointed by his performance against Troyes, but things clicked today…
It's the squad's attitude that has been rewarded. We had spells when we did everything right except our finishing. No one was giving us anything, and we were giving our opponents a lot. We dug in together, we faced up to it and today things went for us. But through Terem's goal, it's the whole squad that has been rewarded.

Dante put in another solid performance…
We're going to check. I'm sure he's lying, he can't be 39, it's not possible [smiles]. I'm still young, I didn't know the great years of OGC Nice, but in everything recent, Dante is OGC Nice. He's the best thing to happen to the club. To have a player like that in the squad…The experience he has is one thing, the trophies too, the career he's had too. But his attitude on a daily basis, the self-discipline and the committment he shows everyone, it's the most beautiful gift OGC Nice could receive.