Patrice Bergues reveals what lies in store for the Olympians this week and also discusses Lyon’s next opponents Le Mans, “a team very hard to beat at home.” He also gives his opinion of European Footballer of the Year, Fabio Cannavaro.
They are a team that have built on their last good season, they play good football and they are very hard to beat at home. They’re undefeated at home and they have very good strikers. It’s going to be another tough match. First of all, because when you’re the leader, everyone wants to beat you. And also because we’ve seen tapes of their games and they are very good with a lot of young players that have come through their youth ranks and emerged this season. They lost one or two important members of their squad, but have managed to maintain their high standards of play. Their coach, Frédéric Hantz deserves all the credit. This club is well installed in Ligue 1 now. So we know it’s going to be a tough game, like the matches against Sochaux and Auxerre. Away from the Stade Gerland we will probably benefit from a little more space, but they are a team that will cause us problems.
Do you think they’ll be out for revenge after Lyon’s 8-1 win on the last day of last season?
That was a different situation. They had nothing left to play for. For our part, we were still in the honeymoon period after winning the league. But that match is forgotten now. They’ll be desperate to become the second to beat us this season, which is no surprise.
Is recuperation still an essential element in preparing for matches?
This week things are going much better because we’ve only got one game. That allowed us to have an extra day off, yesterday, before resuming training today. Fatigue is not something we permit ourselves to talk about, so it will never be an excuse. We have a squad designed to deal with this type of situation. All we want to do is keep on winning. It’s the best way to leave our mark on this championship and also have a nice little points gap before the winter break.
How do you prepare for a full week’s training?
The good thing is to have the time to train. When you’re playing every three days you don’t really have any time to train. Recuperation is also training, recharging the batteries. It really does the world of good.
Gérard Houllier often says how important it is to win the match before a Champions League game, but this match has little at stake...
Our philosophy is you need to keep winning to maintain the same rhythm, to get used to winning and never let anything slip. The more we win, the better we’ll get.
What can you tell us about Eric Abidal and John Carew who weren’t at training today?
John Carew didn’t feel well this morning, so he’s stayed to work indoors. Eric is suffering from a slightly enflamed knee, but it shouldn’t be too bad. We took advantage of the fact that there’s no game in midweek to give him some time off. Fred and Karim Benzema have started jogging again. Fred has a special upper body treatment planned for starters…
Fabio Cannavaro won the Ballon d’Or. What do you make of that?
Today the Ballon d’Or is a reward more for a team than any individual player. I think Thierry Henry was just as worthy of winning. It’s a choice and you have to respect it, but I feel a little bit torn.