Last in Ligue 1, Olympique Lyonnais hosts promoted Le Havre this Sunday (8:45 p.m.) at the end of the fifth day of Ligue 1. An already crucial match.
The summer was hot in Lyon. On August 24, 41° was felt on the banks of the Rhône. Historic record in the capital of Gaul. Temperatures which rose even higher in the offices of Olympique Lyonnais. It heated and shook in the highest echelons of the club. The international break was fatal for Laurent Blanc. Truce that OL began as last in Ligue 1.
Expected for some time – and demanded for months by supporters – the departure of Laurent Blanc was officially recorded this Monday. Temporarily replaced by his former deputies Jean-François Vulliez and Jérémie Bréchet, accompanied by Sonny Anderson as advisor. Former club defender, Fabio Grosso will take over the reins of the first team in the coming days. According to the latest indiscretions of The Teamthe 2006 world champion will be in the stands at Groupama Stadium this Sunday before being presented to the press on Monday.
“It’s a very interesting experience to have in my career, confides Jean-François Vulliez. I don’t know if this is my last match. We know that we are a staff in transition, we know that a staff will arrive soon. Since Monday, we have been preparing for this match to succeed.» OL, who took only one point in their first four matches, welcome Le Havre, tenth in the championship this Sunday (8:45 p.m.). To do this, the club will be able to count on the return of the General.
Lacazette was kept waiting
Suspended at the end of the match against Montpellier for a sole, Alexandre Lacazette will make his return to the field after two matches of absence. During his absence, the Lyonnais scored only one goal in two matches, and from the penalty spot. “It was long especially for me because it’s been a while since I last played, recognizes the Lyon captain at a press conference. The truce came at the best time for us. It allowed players to go to the selection, to play and to smile again. Others were able to rest and train here.» Many players, particularly among young people, have recharged their batteries in the selection. Diego Moreira, a Portuguese international hopeful who arrived from Chelsea at the very end of the transfer window, has finally discovered the group.
Several players will be absent against Le Havre. Dejan Lovren, Henrique and Tino Kadewere forfeited the match. All eyes will be on Rayan Cherki, authors of sublime performances with the French junior team, and Ernest Nuamah, scorer for his first start with Ghana. “It’s interesting, it’s a different profile, confides Alexandre Lacazette. I’ve been able to observe him quite a bit and I see the type of player he is so I’m going to adapt my movements to give him confidence and prominence.»
Confidence to regain
A group that experienced the departure of Laurent Blanc like an electro-shock. “Last week we all came back with a different mentality, promises the captain of Les Gones. I don’t know if young people need to be reured. We speak to the whole group. We want to explain the history of OL to the whole group. There have been a lot of arrivals but now we are all working together. We are all motivated.» For his part, Jean-François Vulliez focuses on the importance of the mental aspect. “We worked on trust this week, confides the temporary coach. There are champions in our team and young people. We want to make them actors in the project and make them their own. Everything happens in the head. It’s not a question of feet, of physics, of technique. It’s a question of trust, of commitment. The team’s potential exists. I really felt an awareness and buy-in from the players.»
Finally, the successor of Laurent Blanc affirms that the bad luck of Olympique Lyonnais is already behind it. “We have a deep motivation for the club to return to what it was. It’s a difficult page but it’s a page. There are talented people and the state of mind is healthy. There is reason for hope to have results on Sunday.” Click this Sunday against Le Havre?