Sablé: Evolution not revolution

Ligue 1 Conforama > News

By D. Crossan

Julien Sablé has vowed to build on the work of his predecessor Oscar Garcia as Saint-Etienne attempt to arrest their slide, starting with Sunday evening's game at Olympique de Marseille.

Olympique de Marseille - AS Saint-Etienne

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Appointed on November 15 after Garcia's resignation, former Les Verts midfielder has seen his team collect just two points from four outings to plummet from sixth to 12th in the table. Sablé, assisted by veteran Jean-Louis Gasset, has the challenge of lifting his team who will be without inspirational captain Loïc Perrin, a hamstring victim, for the rest of the calendar year. Moreover, Rémy Cabella will not be able to feature at the Orange Vélodrome this weekend under the terms of his loan move to ASSE from OM and Romain Hamouma is another injury absentee.

Sablé, 37, said: "Having experienced mid-season coaching changes as a player I know that it's not good to tear everything up. I'm going to use Oscar Garcia's methods as a basis while progressively applying my principles. The squad is receptive and tough. The mental side of things is huge and we the priority is for the players to feel confident again. We need to show them on a daily basis, or backed up by sports science, that they're capable of better and at least able to match the times they've played well since the beginning of the season."


The summer departure of Christophe Galtier after seven and a half years at the helm has been difficult to digest for Saint-Etienne and Sablé is still settling into his maiden first-team coaching position.

Sablé: "I'm not going to be inventing tactics"

Sablé added: "I'm inspired by the coaches I've had, of course, but also by what I learnt while taking my coaching badges. I read up a lot in order to understand how the top coaches work. I'm not going to be inventing tactics. To start with, I just want to eassure the players, finish the year off well and prepare for the league starting up again after the winter break. I'm not an extremist. I believe in the equilibrium between the physical side, the technical side and the mental side of things."

The new coach has received backing from Jérémie Janot, the former ASSE custodian who is now the goalkeeping coach at Auxerre. Janot said: "After Galtier's departure it was always going to be difficult. This is clearly a transitional season and that means going through zones of turbulence. Look at Rudi Garcia at Marseille. Everyone criticised him when he arrived and now Marseille are on the podium. Things happen quickly in football."

OM are unbeaten in their last 11 Ligue 1 Conforama outings and on Thursday they reached the round of 32 of the UEFA Europa League as they secured the point they required to advance by drawing 0-0 at home To Red Bull Salszburg. Garcia was without Florian Thauvin (calf) and Jordan Amavi (suspended) for the game against the Austrian club.

At the Orange Vélodrome, as everywhere else in French professional football this weekend, the teams will come out to a Johnny Hallyday hit in tribute to the French rocker, who died during the week at the age of 74. Garcia said: "He's a monument of French music and we all grew up with him. His music spanned the generations. It's bizarre, it's like it was a family member who's died."

Probable Teams:

Marseille: Mandanda; Sakai, Rami, Abdennour, Amavi; Anguissa, Luiz Gustavo; Thauvin, Sanson, Payet (c); Mitroglou

Saint-Etienne: Ruffier (c); Janko, Théophile-Catherine, Pogba, Pierre-Gabriel; Pajot, Selnaes, Dabo; Bamba, Diony, Monnet-Paquet



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