Why do you agree to speak publicly today, after declining our interview proposals several times in recent months?
I don’t like to put myself forward, it’s not false modesty, I’m like that. But it boils in me, I have this huge desire to take up a new challenge. And in football, communication has taken an important place.
Did that hurt you?
Certainly. I am not a careerist. I don’t like to recall what I have achieved but it obviously has to be done from time to time in this environment. I was twice the best French coach of the year (2006 and 2007 according to France Football ). At ASNL, no one has done better than me, I think. Antoine Redin also took Nancy in the European Cup , which is wonderful. But on our side, we had the good fortune to be European twice… A club like Nantes has not played Europe for I do not know how long… With Evian-Thonon-Gaillard, an ephemeral club, I finished 9e in L1. And in Auxerre, before my dismissal , there have been a good bounce after taking over the 17th L2 team.
“Too long that the sale is the only project”
Are you paying for your image as a coach who likes to win 1-0, as you have often said?
In this sentence, what must be remembered is to win, it is not the score! And then, if we look closely, there were some big victories, even in the European Cup! I also remember some river successes with Auxerre. The year of the last climb with Nancy, in 2016, the quality of play was there too. But I never pretended to be able to play my teams like Barça and I said it with too strong expressions, sometimes.
Before the end of your career, can you imagine coming back to the ASNL bench?
There are people in place, I don’t want my words to be misinterpreted. But I’m not going to lie: yes, it might please me to come back to ASNL one day. I still live in Nancy and this club is twenty years of my life as a player and then a coach. It’s strong emotionally. I don’t see why I would answer anything else when any other club in the ASNL profile could be a great challenge. But once again and I insist, it is not topical, it is a more global reflection, I really want to clarify it in relation to Jean-Louis Garcia and his staff.
How do you see the evolution of ASNL since your dismissal in August 2017 ?
I’m not here to be judgmental, I’m just an observer who knows the club and loves it deeply. For me, selling has been the only project for many people at the club for too long. I have the feeling that we put all the responsibilities on the president who must already face economically. The best way to help the president is to focus 100% on the athlete in the short term. With a training center which must emerge from Lenglet , Amadou , Aït Bennasser , Walter , Lusamba , Maouassa … The whole club must pull in the same direction. By chasing away fatality and stopping saying: “We have no means, we are waiting for the sale”. ASNL has a role to play in this homogeneous L2. I find that the level of the championship has weakened. I am the first to wish Nancy much well. After this terrible health crisis for everyone, I would be the happiest if we saw the Picot stadium vibrate with 18 or 20,000 spectators.
Very close to “becoming a coach of a very good D1 club in Uruguay”
What type of new challenge are you looking for?
I have already refused a few positions where I did not have the spark. A Spanish D2 club and a club in northern France, in particular. It takes that excitement, that feeling that helps you succeed. Very recently, I almost became the coach of a very good D1 club in Uruguay.
Would you prefer to return to this coaching profession now or wait until the start of next season?
No problem if you have to pick up a team along the way! I also took each of my previous positions when the season had already started. I have this ability to adapt quickly.
Could you occupy, at some point, a role other than a coach in a club? Sports director for example?
Yes, a retraining is possible, as in any professional environment. Unlike football, it’s not a job for me, I have the privilege of being able to say that it’s my whole life.