At the end of today’s morning training session, Alain Perrin talked about OL’s upcoming trip to Caen. Will he rotate the squad ahead of their Champions League match against Liverpool? “A bit,” he admitted, “because certain players have played a lot lately.”
The fixture has been interesting, but now the situation is clearer. But we’re not too concerned with how other teams are doing. We’re more concerned about our own performances and the quality of our game. We’re looking to get better with every game, with a view to being up to par in the Champions League.
How are your spirits just two days ahead of your trip to Caen and a week ahead of your tie with Glasgow?
The match in Glasgow is very important but we can’t let it get in the way of our preparation for Caen. A good match in Caen will be the best preparation for a match like the one we face in Glasgow.
Will you rotate the squad against Caen with a view to the match in Glasgow?
Some players have played a lot, so yes, I’ll rotate a bit. Some other players will get some game time and it’ll help keep them competitive. Some places are still up for grabs ahead of Glasgow. I’m very sensitive to the current form of every player. Some youngsters are progressing well and I’m watching them out the corner of my eye.
The players who don’t play against Caen will have gone 10 days without a match. Isn’t that a bit much?
No, because we train hard. The problem with this Caen match isn’t fatigue but niggling injuries and knocks. Not playing will help us avoid small injuries like the one Karim Benzema got against Rennes just before the Barcelona match. But that’s how a season goes – injuries can happen in training. We asked the league to put off this Caen match so we could match Glasgow, who had their match postponed this weekend, The League refused. So we’ll go ahead and play this match to hold our position on the table and maintain our status.
The players say they would prefer to play…
Because that way they train less; when there are fewer matches, training is more intense. Right now I prefer to do technical work without so much intensity, without training matches so we can work on our passages of play in front of goal as well as our crossing.
Glasgow won’t play this weekend. Is that to their advantage?
They took the precaution because they thought it was necessary. They did the same with their national team. Marseille also has to play a super-important match on Saturday then pay again on Tuesday. In France, there are no favours for clubs in the Champions League.
What do you make of Stade Malherbe de Caen?
They’re on the up and up; they beat Bordeaux 5-0. They got a point in Lens and won in Paris. They’re having a top week. When we played them in the Coupe de la Ligue, they moved us around for quite a while. They can impact a game, provoke things. It’ll be a good dress rehearsal for Glasgow. I want minimizing the opposition’s chances to become second nature, but you need immense concentration for that.
What do you need to work on against Caen ahead of the Champions League?
Nothing specific. We’re in a process of constant improvement, even just in small details like not getting caught on the counter and imposing our qualities on set pieces.
How is Fred ?
He’s working without the ball at the moment but he’ll be back on it soon. I can’t see him playing against Caen and for Glasgow we’ll see. He’s getting better every day.
Baros seems to be getting better and better…
Yes. He played well against Strasbourg; he was very active and created chances. When a player gets a sniff of some first-team action, you can see him train differently. Baros is champing at the bit, and it’s tempting to start him. His combative style will be valuable against Glasgow.
How is Fabio Santos feeling?
He still has tendonitis in his left Achilles tendon. We hope to have him back for Glasgow.
What’s your reaction to Patrick Müller’s injury?
The fact that he has to be operated on will really affect his season. Not playing in the Euro in his home country is a huge disappointment. Also, it means we’re a defender down.