Laurent Blanc (OL): “Lucky not to be behind”

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Laurent Blanc (OL): “Lucky not to be behind”

“Were Olympique Lyonnais lucky to win this match (1-0) against LOSC ?
I leave the choice of word to you. Let’s say we were lucky enough not to be trailing in the first half. The second was much more balanced. We created more chances. We were able to achieve one of these. And we took it.

Why did you switch to 4-4-2 in the second half?
We did not have control of the environment. They were often 4 against 3. And we had three centrals for a single striker (Jonathan David). We spotted this problem. We couldn’t change right away, because it posed a balance problem. At the break, it was necessary to add a midfielder who defends well while advancing (Johann Lepenant). He did that wonderfully well this week in training. It allowed (Thiago) Mendes to be more efficient and us to be more balanced in the middle, not to be pierced anymore. They were then upset on the sides. Like on the goal brought by Nico (Tagliafico), who played a very good game on his left side.

“I watch L1 a lot more. I see the intensity of the matches, I tell myself that it has evolved a lot”

At least with him you have an athletically fit player…
If everyone was at the same athletic point as him, that would be great. This is not the case. We know this, for various reasons. This is where entrants have a role to play. I can go see them before matches and tell them ‘get ready’. Often, we do not know when we are going to bring in a player. There, at game time, I bring in players. They have time. Nico, I’m not asking him to ride anymore. But when you play 5, it’s because we have good pistons with Malo (Gusto) and Nico (Tagliafico). It’s the first time we’ve played 4 (flat behind). But good players know when to attack and where. Nico knows where to be and where to position himself. At the pistons, I tell them, their job is to bring the balls into the area. The others are there.

Like Alexandre Lacazette…
Put the balls in the area and you will see that Alex will score goals. He is a surface player. As long as there is movement on the sides and crosses, he will score. In the first half, we couldn’t do it on the sides. That was the problem. We had to bring in people who brought their freshness and leave our scorers in front. I had seen Lille play against Monaco (4-3). They had a great game. There is a physical intensity in this team. I watch the L1 a lot more. I see the intensity of the matches, I tell myself that it has evolved a lot. It’s amazing to repeat high intensity efforts in such an exceptional way.

Alexandre Lacazette. (B. Papon/The Team)

It was your first coaching in Lyon…
I have already come as a trainer. It’s the first time I’ve won at Lyon. Before I had lost (1-2 defeat with PSG, February 28, 2016). It’s very good.

“For three weeks, the club and the players have accepted a lot of things”

Is there already a Laurent Blanc effect?
(He smiles)
I repeat, you have to take points until November 13th. We go to Marseille, we receive Nice, it’s not easy. Let’s take the maximum points. For three weeks, the club and the players have accepted many things. Even with me, we agreed not to take points in Rennes (2-3). If we were serious, we could have taken a point. I had told them during the week, do not accept any more. In Montpellier, we can kill the game, but there is still a lack of confidence. They come back to the score and we went for the three points (2-1). This change of mentality is the greatest progress of our team.

Jérôme Boateng lasted 90 minutes…
At halftime, I still went to see him. Damien (Da Silva) had a yellow card. I ask him : “If you tell me you’re done…” He told me : “I’ll finish”. To the experience.

Did you discuss with him the non-sporting context (it is on trial for domestic violence)?
No. It doesn’t have to be the top every day. I discuss a lot with him in terms of football. He is one of the experienced defensive players. Don’t forget that we are playing with young players (Gusto, Lukeba, Diomandé). It takes a little bottle behind. There may be others, but Jérôme (Boateng) is legitimate in this role. He knew a lot of things in football.

Houssem Aouar, he could not finish the match …
It’s his problem. I have two or three players who have played little since the start of the season. Even if they are better, there is so much intensity in front that it is difficult to get out of it. When he will be better athletically, he will be able to take advantage of his technique. It can only be better in the future.”


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