After a week’s training camp in Aix-les-Bains, the Parisian manager talks about Sunday night’s game between PSG and Olympique Lyon. He reiterates that PSG are the underdogs and rejects any suggestion of revenge.
We will approach this match like any other important match, because every match is important for PSG. We know our opponent will be very strong. We know that Gérard Houllier has fielded some less-than-top-strength teams in the last few games, which shows that for Lyon, the most important game is the on e this Sunday versus PSG. We come to Lyon as underdogs, Lyon’s swag of titles and excellent campaign so far remind us of this all the time. We will simply try to play the best match we can.
You have already troubled Lyon twice this season. Do you have a formula for putting the champions under pressure?
We may have troubled OL but they won both matches. We could be fatalistic but equally we could wonder what would have become of us had we won. It’s a real shame, because I know it would have done our confidence the world of good.
Are you spurred on by thoughts of revenge?
Each match has its truth. The match in the League Cup was different from that in the Champions Trophy. And there will be another match tomorrow, different from the other two, and it’s up to us to take it one well. The idea of revenge is not helpful and we mustn’t let it get the better of us. We have to play a coherent, robust match.
Astonishingly, you seem more comfortable away from home than at the Parc des Princes. Why is that?
There were some great things in the match versus Lens (3-0 defeat). The players played well, just as they did in the first 20 minutes against Bordeaux (2-0 defeat) when we should have taken the lead. We are now at a crossroads, and if we can win, it will set us on a good path. We have had some bad moments, but perhaps the worst has been and gone, and the hard work will pay off, especially if the result is more favourable for us than last time.
Do you share the opinion of Gérard Houllier, who has said that « emphasis must be put on the quality of the game »?
Football is a marvellous sport, especially in its sense of tolerance, and is in fact the antithesis of what happened in Paris. But the result is still incredibly important. Gérard (Houllier) and I are both winners. We fight it out but we shake hands before and after the match. There has to be a winner and a loser.
Some people have strongly criticised the attitude of Patrice Bergues when the League Cup game was played. Where do you stand?
I really appreciate Patrice Bergues. I was concentrating on the game, and I have to say I didn’t even see him. Only someone who has never spent a match on the sideline can criticise his attitude. If football could be run just by those who sit touch line, there wouldn’t be any problems.