first team / OL - Boulogne D -2

Press conference: Claude Puel

Published on the 14 December 2009 à 19:53 by BV

Following this afternoon's training session, Claude Puel looked back on the defeat against Bordeaux and the current period that OL are going through.

What did the president Jean-Michel Aulas have to say to the sqaud?

The president confirmed his support of the squad and the staff. We are in a delicate period and it is up to us to get through it as best we can. There is enough quality in the group to do so, as we showed in the first few months of competition. It’s not just positive thinking. We know that we have potential, we have to show it and roll up our sleeves and get down to work, that is the only way we can change things. In our last two matches, the squad showed some interesting things, we’re on the right track, it’s up to us to keep at it. This squad has so much potential that it is annoying to see where we are.

What was missing against Bordeaux yesterday?

Little things that swing the match one way or the other. Sometimes we want to do too much and end up lacking. With a little more luck, we could have played more freely. Our approach to the game was good, as was our performance at the start. There was desire and impact. The group has refocused since the match in Debrecen, they have shown that they are mobilised and are advancing together. I can feel it, even if there are still some difficulties, but you can’t get rid of them with a magic wand. None of the players have given up. Everyone wants to see a healthy reaction and a way out of our current predicament. There just needs to be a little more effort to turn luck in our favour.

Have you set a total of points you want to take before the break?

The maximum, but it is the content of our performances which will allow us to achieve our objectives. There are nine points to be taken, that wouldn’t be a bad start. Our next three matches are going to be very important. Afterwards, we should have everyone back, which will change things. The squad will come out of this stronger, with a lot of mental strength for the second half of the season. This is a situation that a lot of the players have never experienced, eother because they are too young or because they are used to winning a lot of titles. In the future this squad will be a lot stronger.

What is your relationship with the players like?

Very good, we are in a delicate period and are all working together as that is the only way we will get out of it. Over two months we did a lot of great things together, there is no reason for this to just disappear.

How do you explain that certain players are unable to get back to their best form?

Each case is different. For individualities to show what they can do, you need a solid collective. For a long time we managed to keep things going, despite all of the injuries, but, at one point, we lost a bit of fitness and the quality that goes with it. The match in Grenoble (1 – 1) hurt us a lot. Afterwards things became more difficult and we started to doubt. There is still a certain amount of immaturity in the way we approach matches. For there to be a turning point, we need to be rewarded for the content of our matches. It won’t happen overnight, but gradually.

Do you feel as if you are going through the same situation as you did at Lille a few seasons back?

From a psychological point of view it is the same. The players have been affected, we have to help them evacuate their negative thoughts and be positive with them. At the time, we stuck it out and the team finished third and then second in the table and reached the last 16 of the UEFA Cup and Champions League. There are similarities with what is happening today, with a youthful team which does not have the maturity to get over these difficult periods. I’m used to not giving up and maintaining a course if I believe it to be the right one.

Do you think that you still have the chance of being French champions?

Of course, even if we have made things difficult for ourselves. We were in an opposite situation last year. The title hasn’t been won yet. It’s a great challenge for us to take up. The season is long and a lot of things will happen before the end.

Are you going to recruit in the transfer window?

I don’t know. For the moment nothing has been decided.

Patrick Vieira?

First of all we have to see if it is necessary for us, the nit what kind of physical state he is. How long would it take to get him to peak fitness? For the moment the question is not on the table.

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