Three-time Ligue 1 Conforama champion Yohan Cabaye is back in the French game at Saint-Etienne and says the league has evolved since he left PSG in 2015. Interview…
The 33-year-old former Lille hero made his Sainté debut in Marseille a fortnight ago. He shared his early impressions with the The Ligue 1 Show on beIN Sports. Twice a champion with PSG and once with LOSC, Cabaye said: "It's evolved yes, tactics have evolved, players have evolved and now there are lots of very young players being given chances to impress, and who are gaining in maturity quicker than ever.
"Have things changed? I'm not sure… I'll have to play a few more games to form an opinion! In any case I'm really happy to be back in France, to be playing in Ligue 1, the league that gave me the chance to enjoy the career that I have. I'm delighted, and I hope this can continue."
Reunited with Debuchy
Saint-Etienne may not be a familiar environment for Cabaye, but with former LOSC and Newcastle team-mate Mathieu Debuchy around, the midfielder has been made to feel at home very quickly. Cabaye said: "When I heard there was a possibility of joining Saint-Etienne, I called up Mathieu, of course! He's someone I really appreciate! It's rare to be able to truly call a fellow footballer a real friend but that's exactly what I consider Mathieu to be. We've enjoyed great times together, with Lille, with the French national team and with Newcastle too. To join up with him here again is great, I hope we can enjoy more great times."
Debuchy may have helped Sainté to a fourth-placed finish last season, but real change swept through the club this summer and it's been a tough start to the current campaign. One of nine players to arrive in the past weeks, Cabaye is hoping to help get the best out of a very promising looking squad.
"It's a young group here, but there is also a bunch of experienced players! A lot of new players too, who came in this summer. Everyone has to feel at home and most of all to work hard and get up to speed physically. The ambition is present, we want to do big things this season!
"I can't wait to play more games this season, to get results and to help the team do just as well as last season. Let's hope we can put together a good European run to play as many matches as possible and treat the crowd to good times… that will be important!
"It's true that being able to play every two weeks in front of such a crowd, a crowd that makes real noise and galvanises you, that is really important. I remember, when I won the title with Lille, we won at Saint-Etienne, and the crowd applauded us, that doesn't happen every day… I was struck by it! Every time I've played at Saint-Etienne I've enjoyed the atmosphere, coming to play at Geoffroy-Guichard really is something special."