The experienced technician will go through his first derby in the Geoffroy-Guichard stadium Sunday. For him, playing in the Cauldron will be a deciding factor against OL and will give his team a great advantage.
This will be your first derby on your home turf. How do you feel about this?
I feel very excited about everything that’s happening around us. They have been speaking to me about this for a year. I played two but they took place on our opponent’s turf. I’m dying to see this. They told me that the stadium will be sold out. Imagine the atmosphere.
What is your opinion of OL?
It’s an irregular team facing more modest teams but they play great matches. Being qualified for the last 16 CL stage, and I can speak to you about that, with Manchester City FC and FC Shakhtar Donetsk as adversaries, that’s a great feat.
Do you believe you’re the favourite to win in light of the rankings?
Favourite to win? Compare the budget, the team, the infrastructures and you will see that, even if we have a lot going for us, normally, we don’t compete at the same level. But there’s still a derby to play in the Cauldron. We’re undefeated on our home turf. And, most importantly, we have fans that transcend us. Sometimes, even if we don’t dominate the game, we don’t give up. These people don’t whistle, they’re with us, they suffer with us and they push us. I’m convinced that they gave Wahbi the strength to kick the last shot Wednesday evening. That’s unique.
So the rankings don’t count?
They don’t change anything at all. The rankings are not essential for the moment. There are still many matches after this one. In this calendar 2018 year, we’re fourth in the rankings. If we finish like that, that will suit me just fine. PSG and OL are the two teams who will play for the Champions League because they have the team and the budget to do so. I’ll repeat, we’re not thinking about the rankings. I’m concentrated on my goal of putting the team in the best conditions possible so that they play a great match. It’s the day to be ourselves. We have to be up to the task, we have to give everything we’ve got. But, I can’t forsee the outcome.
Do you already have in mind the speech that you will give to your players before kick-off?
Yes, more or less. But, there’s that moment, the faces of the players, that I must see. I must know what they need to hear. From time to time, you just have to calm the troops, not panic. Screaming can wake them up though. But, sometimes you have to adopt other methods. You have to feel the situation.