Stéphane Ruffier: "We have extraordinary fans"
The Verts’ goalie, who’s celebrating his 32nd birthday today, was impressive last Tuesday in Toulouse where he contributed to the Verts’ victory. He hopes to see his team conclude this 3-match week in style against the players from Monaco that he knows well.
You’re celebrating your 32nd anniversary today. Are you mature now?
We often say that the best years of your life start with your thirtieth. When you have experience, you see things differently. Today, I’m 32, I’m still having just as much fun, that’s what’s most important.
How did you deal with the goal conceded to Caen?
I didn’t lose my head over it, it’s only my second blunder in three years, so it’s insignificant. To error is human, that happens to everyone. Once it’s done, it’s done. The main thing is that I have the chance to play with teammates who can make up the difference in goals scored in order to win the match.
Were you touched by the support of the fans at that precise moment?
I had no doubt about the fans, about this city. We have extraordinary fans. Even in bad times, people have never criticized me. They’re happy with my work, they know who I am. They chanted my name (after the goal conceded to Caen), that’s great recognition, I thank them very much. I have much affection for them as well.
Your performance against Toulouse shows that you’ve quickly moved on.
Yes, I didn’t dwell on my error because I take it one match at a time. The match against Toulouse was another match, we were keen to add a second victory to our streak. We took six points but we still have one last match against Monaco in order to finish this week in style.
Has ASSE finished its break-in period?
We maintained the same state of mind that we had last season. Since the beginning of this season, great names have been added to the club’s list of players so that we now have a quality professional team. On paper, it’s the greatest team that I’ve seen in Saint-Etienne, that’s evident. There are well-tempered players with good mindsets. I’m not surprised by the atmosphere that there is on the field and in the locker room. Like the coach said, we were in a break-in period for the first few months, but I think that we found our rhythm today. We’re going to try maintain this level of performance for as long as possible even if we know that there will be difficult moments that every club experiences.
Do you share the opinion of several specialists who are predicting a great season for the Verts?
We let observers situate us where they want to. We know that we have a quality team, with players who want to come out on top. When players of this quality have this ambition, they do what they must in order to achieve it. The seriousness and the experience of Jean-Louis Gasset and of Ghislain (Printant) have given us their high expectations. The coach was recruited to bring ASSE to where we should be: ranking high enough to merit a qualification for a European competition.
What does the game against Monaco this Friday inspire in you?
I’ve only known two clubs in my career: Monaco and Saint-Etienne. These clubs are both dear to my heart, two clubs where I’ve experienced everything. I was 14 when I arrived in Monaco and when I left, I was 24. I’ve had good times and bad but there are things that remain with me. There, people treated me as number 1, ahead of Flavio Roma. In regards of the match tomorrow (Friday), Monaco is still a great rival despite the complicated beginning to their season. When a team like that is hurting, you have to be wary. Especially last year, we took a beating at a moment when we were going through a bad period, but tomorrow is another day. Since then, we’ve had the time to put this memory behind us.
According to you, is Ligue 1 Conforama much more intense this season?
The matches are very difficult to win even against the teams coming from Ligue 2. Players with great names are starting to arrive in France, that can only improve the championship and make it more attractive.