Laurent Blanc (OL): “I’m not behind on our luck”

“Was Olympique Lyon lucky to win this match (1-0) against LOSC?
I leave the choice of words to you. Let’s say that we were lucky not to fall behind in the first half. The second was more balanced. We created more chances. We managed to achieve one of them. And we took it.

Why did you switch to 4-4-2 in the second half?
We had no control over the environment. They were often 4 against 3. And we had three centers for one striker (Jonathan David). We have seen this problem. We couldn’t switch right away because it was creating a balance problem. A good defensive midfielder (Johann Lepenant) had to be added going into half-time. He did that very well in practice this week. It allowed (Thiago) Mendes to be more efficient and for us to be more balanced in the middle, not to be punctured anymore. Later, they were upset by the parties. Like the goal scored by Nico (Tagliafico), who played very well on the left side.

“I look more at L1. I see the intensity of the matches, I tell myself that it has improved a lot”

At least you have a football player in athletic form next to him…
It would be great if everyone was at the same athletic point as him. This is not so. We know this for a variety of reasons. Applicants have a role here. Before the matches I can go and watch them and say ‘get ready’. Often we don’t know when to bring a player. There, at game time, I bring players. They have time. Nico, I’m not asking him to ride anymore. But when you play 5 it’s because of our good pistons with Malo (Gusto) and Nico (Tagliafico). First time we played 4 (straight back). But good players know when and where to attack. Nico knows where to be and where to position himself. In the Pistons, I tell them, their job is to bring the ball down the field. Others are there.

Like Alexandre Lacazette…
Put the balls in the field and you will see that Alex will score goals. He is a superficial player. As long as there is movement on the flanks and crosses, he will score. We couldn’t do it in the first half. That was the problem. We had to bring fresh people and put our goal scorers in front. I saw the game of “Lille” against “Monaco” (4:3). They had a great game. There is physical tension in this team. I’m looking more at L1. I see the intensity of the matches, I tell myself that it has improved a lot. It’s amazing to repeat high-intensity efforts in such an exceptional way.

Alexandre Lacazette. (B. Papon/Team)

It was your first coaching in Lyon…
I have already come as a coach. It’s the first time I’ve won in Lyon. Before I lose it (1-2 loss against PSG, February 28, 2016). This is very good.

“The club and the players have taken on a lot in three weeks”

Is there already a Laurent Blanc effect?
Again, you have to collect points by November 13. We go to Marseille, we take on “Nice”, it’s not easy. Let’s take the maximum points. In three weeks, the club and the players have accepted a lot. Even me and I agreed not to take points in Rennes (2-3). If we were serious, we could get points. During the week I said don’t take it again. We can kill the game in Montpellier, but there is still a lack of confidence. They got back into the score and we went for the three points (2-1). This change in mentality is the biggest improvement of our team.

Jerome Boateng lasted 90 minutes…
I still went to see him during the break. Damien (Da Silva) received a yellow card. I ask him: “If you tell me, you’re done…” He told me: “I’ll finish”. For practice.

Have you discussed the non-sports context with him (he’s in the middle of a domestic violence trial)?
Nope. You don’t have to be on top every day. I talk to him a lot about football. He is one of the experienced defensive players. Do not forget that we play with young players (Gusto, Lukeba, Diomande). It needs some glass behind it. There may be others, but Jérôme (Boateng) is legit in this role. He knew a lot about football.

Houssem Aouar could not finish the match …
It’s his problem. I have two or three players who have played less since the beginning of the season. Even if they’re better, there’s so much intensity ahead that it’s hard to break out of. As he gets better athletically, he will be able to take advantage of his technique. It can only get better in the future.”

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