Two days before the derby, the Stéphanois coach wishes his players to play a great game in order to honour their supporters and progress in the rankings.
In what state of mind are you two days before the derby?
This isn’t new for me, I already had the chance to compete in a derby last season. This match is special and everyone reminds us of this. People speak about honour, pride, the club’s values of courage and determination, I’ve soaked up all of this. I try to instill this in my players so that we honour the club. So we’ll especially try enjoy ourselves so that the whole region, the entire Green Nation is proud of us.
What experience do you have with these big matches?
Everywhere where I’ve experienced these matches, you’re led to believe that these matches are the last of your life but you have to put things into perspective. It’s not a matter of making sensational statements but just being in the right place at the right time. Even if there’s an abysmal gap in terms of budgets or the number of international players between the two clubs, we’re going to give this match our utmost effort while remaining true to our values.
Do you feel that the players are motivated?
The players know very well that they’ll have to be very attentive, very focused and outdo themselves in order to rival our adversary’s star players. We’ll have to play at 110% and have a collective state of mind. The players who’ve already experienced the derby on our home turf last season will be vengeful and those who have joined us since, like (Mathieu) Debuchy, (Wahbi) Khazri or (Neven) Subotic, are used to these matches.
Will the absence of the club’s fans permeate the derby?
Football matches must be a celebration and a spectacle for everyone and this match even more so than others. It’s a shame that our fans have to watch it on tv. Even with 1,000 or 2,000 fans, the match would have been different.