Pros Thursday 01 March 2018 à 16h26

Jean-Louis Gasset: «I’m keeping things in perspective»

The Verts’ trainer hears the praise but does not lose sight of his objective: maintaining his team’s Ligue 1 status. The tactician (on dit tactician plutôt que technician en anglais) reminds us that his players should not give into euphoria before facing Dijon in the Cauldron (this Saturday at 8 pm).
 
 
You have been highly praised by the media in regards of your coaching recently. How does that make you feel?
That pleases me of course, but in this line of work I know that that can change quickly, so I’m keeping things in perspective.
 
As a tactician, do you reckon that ASSE could have done better against Lyon?
After the fact, yes! Because our Plan A was not to concede a goal before putting more pressure on Lyon towards the end of the match. But we fell behind and Stéphane Ruffier blocked a feint to avoid a 2-0 lead for Lyon that would have signalled the end of the match for us. Then, in the most amazing way, we managed to even the score but if we had accomplished this earlier, we would have been more ambitious towards the end of the match.

You wanted your players to be completely engaged in order to play the important matches against Marseille and Lyon but also in order to play three games as an away team. Are you content?
Our confidence is coming back but we can’t content ourselves with playing a reactive role. We turned the tables on Caen, then tied against Marseille and Lyon but today we have to take the game to our opponents if we want to change things up. That’s incidentally what we work on during our training sessions. We’re on the right path but we still have a lot of work to do.
 
What allowed ASSE to reverse the trend that has characterized this club since the beginning of the year?
The arrival of many players whose experience and professionalism have changed our situation. They’re examples for the other players. A true professional takes care of his body because it’s what he uses on the job and if these players have had good careers, it’s because of this professionalism. Today, I see the conduct of the players changing. We’re gaining confidence and starting to resemble a real team.
 
Did you think that their impact would be this crucial this quickly?
It’s what I hoped for. I know that the players aren’t yet at 100%. We can’t strain them! It’s for this reason that many players have an adapted schedule because they really want to succeed. The only one that really has a lot in the tank is Debuchy, we even have to stop him from doing too much. But that explains why he’s already scored two goals. It’s the players that are hungry who succeed.
 
In regards of the recruits, what do you think of Yann M’Vila?
He’ll be able to contribute more to the team when he’s at his peak level of physical performance. He’s already lost weight and after having seen his goal in Lyon, we have the impression that he commands the midfield. He’s the one that gives the game a certain tempo: he slows it down, he speeds it up, that’s why he’s here.
 
When will you allow yourself to start shooting for the top of the rankings?
The day when we actually occupy a position at the top of the rankings. I hope that will happen after Saturday evening but I know that the match against Dijon will not be an easy one. We’re going to play against the team with the 5th best offensive line in the championship. They’ve scored 10 more goals and are one place higher in the rankings than us. That means that they’re a high quality team, that’s evident. So we have to be wary of them! We only have 34 points and there are only 11 matches remaining: so we could earn almost as many points as we already have. Once we have 42 points, we’ll see if we can shoot for 5th or 6th place in the rankings. But we can’t forget where we were a few months ago. For the moment, we have to continue to earn points.
 
Do you fear that your team is loosing momentum?
Yes because we were very productive and as a result had great results in February. But we can’t let that happen. Since the beginning of January, I haven’t stopped saying that it’s in the Geoffroy-Guichard stadium where we’ll earn points. So I hope that the 25,000 or 30,000 spectators will encourage the team Saturday because they were brave against Lyon. I saw a scene of pure joy during the last second of the match, I saw a team that was truly living and that must please the Stéphanois because the entire club, the entire region was waiting for this match in order move past the outrage provoked by the first match against Lyon.
 

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