Ahead of hosting Auxerre to the Stade Gerland this Sunday, Jérémy Toulalan discusses OL recent ‘rough patch’, the side’s difficulties with dead-ball situations and also his new positioning in the Lyon midfield…
We’ll just try and do like we always do... to win. Even if we do have a lot of injured players at the moment, we have a big enough squad to play to win every time we take to the pitch. We don’t even know what ‘tired’ means...
Did the Real Madrid get you back on the right track after a period in which the club seemed to have lost some of its lustre?
Those hard periods bring the whole squad closer together. We know that you’re always going to have rough times but you just have to dig deep. Even if there are tough games, we’ve been managing to win them. We are well aware that sometimes are a little off colour, like against Sedan. We have to keep concentrated on the ‘little matches’ because our opponents never give up. We try to play every game the same, with the same desire, even if, obviously, we’d always like to be playing against big clubs because it’s easier to develop our own football against them.
What’s morale like ahead of the Auxerre game?
We’re confident, even if we know it’s hard at home. We struggle to play our own football because the other teams come here to defend. Against Auxerre, that’s what we’re expecting. I twill be up to us to watch them carefully and stay patient. We mustn’t lose out heads if we don’t score in the first half.
Is it easy to return to the League after playing Real Madrid?
Our ail is the League. So we have to win as many games as we can as soon as possible so that we can truly relax.
What do you make of Auxerre’s start to the season?
We’re certainly not used to seeing them down in the second half of the table. Compared to recent season’s, this Auxerre squad seels to struggle a little but we also know that they’ll throw everything at us. We ready for a big game, this Sunday.
On a personal note, things seem a little harder for you?
Yes, thingsare a little harder. I’m trying to do my job on the field, as well as I can. I’m trying to be a little simpler in my play. One things for sure: it’s not fatigue that’s to blame. I have to know how to get through these periods.
You have Jean Fernandez’s total confidence because you’are his most used player…
I’m happy with that. When you’re a player you want to play as match as possible. I came here to play as many games as possible. So for the moment, I’m very happy. We have to go on with it – that’s the hardest part.
Lyon are conceding a lot of goals from set-pieces at the moment...
Yes. We’ll have to look out for it. A little bit more watch ful and perhaps a little bit more aggressive in the penalty area. You need to want the ball, to go and header it. If we want to be at the top, we need to fix that.
What have you learnt since joining OL?
I’m a lot more serious than before. I’m a lot tougher on the pitch now. At Nantes I wasn’t pushing myself anymore. And my position wasn’t the same: at Nantes I was part of a two-man midfield and three just isn’t the same thing. In some respects, I’ve discovered a new position, alone in front of goal. I have to be more careful and also sometimes stop myself from getting forward. When I was younger, I didn’t defend much… now I love it, and this position is perfect for me…