Oniangué: 'If you're scared, you might as well quit'
Back form an injury lay-off, Stade de Reims forward Prince Oniangué is ready to give his all to boost his side - currently in 17th place - and help them beat the drop, starting with the visit of Nantes on Saturday night.
Prince Oniangué has been out of action for the past six weeks with a groin strain, but with his chances of being named in coach Olivier Guégan's squad for Saturday's crucial clash with Nantes, the Congo international midfielder is ready to do his bit to help save the Champagne club from the drop.
"Things are building positively," Oniangué said of the atmosphere at Reims, who have lost five and won just one of their last seven Ligue 1 outings to be left perched on the brink of the drop zone with only goal difference keeping them above GFC Ajaccio in 18th. "I will try to bring my experience to bear, especially the experience I have from AFCON qualifiers, when you don't have just a town behind you but rather an entire nation. There are lots of internationals at this club and each one will do his bit to help us to safety."
It was this time last seasons that the club's directors opted to sack Jean-Luc Vasseur and replace him with current boss Guégan, but Oniangué feels that this season the club must look inward.
"The solution is here, among us. We're not doubting ourselves. We know we can create a positive atmosphere," said the midfielder who had to watch on from the stands as his side fell 3-1 in Rennes last weekend. "There are six matches left to play, and making a fuss about it doesn't help anyone or anything. If you're scared, you might as well quit right away. Quite simply, we need to be effective. We won't be looking to play the most beautiful football. We need points."
Hopefully for fans of the Champagne club, Oniangué's confidence will prove infectious and start an epidemic, and if his refusal to indulge in negativity while being interviewed is anything to go by, then the chances are good.
"Honestly, I don't look backwards, I look ahead," he offered when asked how he felt about 19th-placed Toulouse's having closed to within four points of Reims with their win over SM Caen. "It depends on how you think. I'm programmed to look ahead. Difficulty makes you grow, and when things are tough, there are still positives."
With a final sprint that includes clashes with Nice, Montpellier, Marseille and Lyon, Reims will need all the positive vibes they can get…