“The club has just formalized the extension of Marquinhos. What does it represent?
This is already very good news. For the club, for the coach that I am. It’s an example. He arrived at PSG at 19, he is finishing his tenth season. He is one of the best central defenders in the world. It has been ubiquitous for ten years. It’s a strong signal sent to everyone, to show that PSG remains competitive and has ambition for the coming seasons. It is also for Marqui a proof of reliability on what he can be as a player on the field and what he brings in terms of serenity and calm in the locker room.
The past few weeks have been busy. After last weekend’s success against Ajaccio (5-0)what was the atmosphere these last days?
I quickly felt after our disappointment in Lorient that there had been a big remobilization behind. The fact of having played a successful match against Troyes and Ajaccio, it releases the pressure. But my players have been very serious in their work. We have a very important match, we are approaching the end of the championship. As I tell my players, we shouldn’t rely on others, especially Lens, it’s up to us to perform. We are going to have a very different match from Troyes or Ajaccio who were almost doomed. There will be a team that will fight for the maintenance and us for the title.
What was your reaction to seeing that your peers did not rank you among the top five coaches in L1? What explanation do you have?
There is simply a vote, which must be respected. I voted myself. The five nominated coaches deserve it. It’s like that. I had no particular reaction.
In the last matches, you used Hugo Ekitike. What did you think of it?
Hugo arrived late, he took some time. I integrated him when, during the sessions, he showed me that he was really there. There was a time when mentally it was difficult for him. I’m happy with what he’s been doing lately. It’s good to have a second striker, so that Leo (Messi) has another solution than Kylian (Mbappé). But it’s Hugo’s hard work that has made him start the last two games and very likely to start on Sunday.
Can other young people join the eleven against Auxerre?
Young people are an important subject at PSG and I understand that. I would like to point out to you that the young people have been integrated since the start of the season. They each progress at their own pace. But the young people played. Look at Warren (Zaire-Emery), who was not yet 17 when he started playing. Or El Chadaille (Bitshiabu). From there to integrate it into each match … We are at PSG, with an obligation of result. Each young person has their own growth rate. If the opportunity arises to integrate other young people, I will do it.
Are you happy with Marco Verratti’s end to the season and will he be available on Sunday?
He took a blow to the knee who stopped him from training collectively. He trained individually. We will see tomorrow, but we have good hopes that he will be with us in Auxerre. Marco is a very important player, when he’s not there, it shows in the game. As the team has a moment, he had a shot less well. Our slump coincided with the absence of many executives. But I find that the criticism is a little harsh compared to what he does on the ground.
How do you judge the evolution of Gianluigi Donnrumma this season?
Above all, he is a very well-educated professional. He is improving on reading the game. I have felt him very decisive on his line lately. It takes up a lot of space, it makes reflex stops. He begins to take more leadership by directing his defense. He has an axis of improvement in my eyes, I spoke to him about it, he must be even more aggressive. Do not admit when you go 3-0 to concede a goal. More aggressive towards himself and his defenders. So that he can become one of the greatest goalkeepers in the world.
In view of the transfer window, what are the priority sectors to be strengthened?
Focus on the last three matches, especially the next one. Regarding the workforce and what there is to improve, there is a lot of work done by Luis (Campos) and by the president.
What do you think of the profile of a player like Bernardo Silva?
Above all, he is a Manchester City player. Many of you have seen his last game (4-0 against Real Madrid Wednesday, with a double in the key), he was very good. I discovered him when he arrived in Monaco, where Luis Campos recruited him. He is obviously an interesting player. But I repeat, he is a Manchester City player. »