FC Nantes boss Vahid Halilhodzic was beaming after his ten-man side beat Caen 1-0; Strasbourg coach Thierry Laurey said he considered substituting his whole team - and himself - at half-time in the 2-1 loss to ASSE.
Wednesday, 13 February 2019
SM Caen 0 - 1 FC Nantes
Fabien Mercadal (SM Caen coach): "I feel ashamed; we just proved our naysayers right. It's complicated, as things kind of went our way [Nantes had Andrei Girotto sent off in the 34th minute] but we failed to capitalise. What is really tough is that we came into the match looking to take control and grind our opponents down, but failed completely. I think we need to make some fundamental changes to how we play. We need to switch to combat mode, into fight mode, even though we know that in Ligue 1 Conforama, that isn't enough on its own. The fans really showed up, spurring us on in the first part of the match. But after that we can understand that they were terribly disappointed."
Vahid Halilhodzic (FC Nantes coach): "After losing to Nîmes 4-2, I told the players everything that I was thinking. I'm very proud of how they reacted tonight, in a difficult situation with just ten men for over 60 minutes. I told them, 'We will win, we will win'. They played an heroic match in terms of discipline and fighting spirit. This win really does us a lot of good. When you win that way - a man down - it's a great feeling. We needed that."
AS Saint-Etienne 2 - 1 RC Strasbourg Alsace
Jean-Louis Gasset (AS Saint-Etienne coach): "It's very satisfying to have reached 40 points. We were effective in the first half but we could have gone further ahead and so we had some nervy moments after conceding 20 minutes from the end. Fatigue was a bit of an issue, as we played on Sunday, and so was our morale after going a month without a win."
Thierry Laurey (RC Strasbourg Alsace coach): "At half-time, I could have substituted all 11 players - and the coach. Saint-Etienne showed a lot of quality in the first half, but we were also really terrible in a lot of areas. Things get tough when you concede early, and although we did better in the second half, that doesn't excuse our poor start. At half-time I let the lads talk it our amongst themselves and they opted to make some substitutions. Shouting at them doesn't help, and we were better in the second half even though we lacked precision and rushed things a bit."
Sunday, 3 February 2019
Olympique Lyonnais 2-1 Paris Saint-Germain
Bruno Genesio (Olympique Lyonnais coach): "It gets very emotional after a match like that. Antho [Lopes] was decisive when the time came. As usual. I saw tonight that my team have really made progress. The game plan was simple but we still had to put it together out on the pitch. We decided to push high uptake pitch and go after them. You open yourself up playing in this way, but you also give yourself a chance to win it, as was the case tonight. We managed to get back in to the match and beat PSG. We knew we were capable of beating them."
Thomas Tuchel (Paris Saint-Germain coach): "I expected a difficult game as Lyon have a lot of quality and are through to the Last 16 of the Champions League. The first half was really tough. We gave the ball away a lot and made bad decisions, especially in key moments. After half-time, we controlled the game well. I'm happy with the second half. We had chances, but weren't clinical enough."
Nîmes Olympique 1-1 Montpellier Hérault SC
Bernard Blaquart (coach Nîmes): "It's a fair result. We had two chances to press home our advantage. Nîmes started better, but Montpellier finished the stronger. There's a bit of frustration, that's normal, you always want to win a derby. It was a defensive game, it was tough for the attacking players to express themselves. We dropped a little physically at the end of the game. I regret we didn't better exploit some balls and counter-attacks. Petar Skuletic hurt us when he came on. Now, we're still lacking ten points to ensure we stay up."
Michel Der Zakarian (Montpellier coach): "We conceded from the game's first corner…We were punished because we weren't paying attention, we weren't marking up. The first half wasn't the best in terms of how we played, and it's tough to play good football on a very sandy pitch. We changed the system after half-time, but more than that we put in more speed, more creativity in our approach play, and we managed to score at the right moment. It's a shame, we might have won the game. Our aim is to stay in the top five."
Saturday, 2 February, 2019
Angers SCO 1 - 0 Dijon FCO
Stéphane Moulin (Angers coach): "It was a high-stakes game, neither team wanted to give up any space. It was close for a long time. Our goal opened the game up and we could have conceded. My only regret is that we didn't score more. We had chances and could have converted one or two of them, but it is how it is. We knew it was an important match and we had to take the three points."
Antoine Kombouaré (Dijon coach): "It's a defeat that hurts a lot. It's difficult to digest, difficult to understand. I saw anger in the locker room, even revolt. We played good football, had a lot of possession and could get into the final third, but we were missing a cutting edge. There are positive signs as long as they keep playing like this, though. The goal hurt us a lot but we must keep moving forward and start collecting points."
AS Monaco 2-1 Toulouse FC
Leonardo Jardim (Monaco coach): "It was emotional, coming back, but after that I focused on the game. We played well. The players respected the strategy and stayed compact. I congratulated the group for picking up their first three points of the year. I'm here for a mini-championship of 16 matches and our goal is to win as many points as any other team in France over this period. Everyone knows what's gone on. Not winning for 22 games at home weighs heavily. That's why the players are happy. They showed that they're competent. As for Jemerson in midfield, he grew up playing there. He was criticised but the real Jemerson is the one who was champion of France with Monaco."
Alain Casanova (Toulouse coach): "We were average. Our start was poor and we couldn't cause a team, who are in a rebuilding process, any problems. It was balanced until half-time but then we gave up too much possession. Some played below their level, which is a shame. The return of Leo Jardim is good for them psychologically and tactically. They had a good transfer window and fixed some of their weaknesses."
Stade Rennais FC 1-0 Amiens SC
Christophe Pélissier (Amiens coach): "It's a hard blow because, in the first have at least, we played exactly as we meant to. We dictated the rhythm of the game. We knew Rennes could up their level and when they did we sank. They drove us back and it just took a single shot for them to win the game. We have an important game next week against Caen, who are a direct competitor, and we need to be able to win these matches. A point here would have been good for the boys because they gave everything."
Julien Stéphan (Rennes coach): "We had a poor first half, with no rhythm or intensity. Fortunately, we were able to up the pace in the second half and do some damage to Amiens, who were well organised. We knew their quality, that they could be dangerous away from home. We were brave and managed to turn the game around. It's a relief and a good sign that we can do that."
Stade de Reims 2-1 Olympique de Marseille
David Guion (Reims coach): "It's a great reward for the players. I wasn't happy at the start of the match because I thought they were too timid. We suffered a lot, especially when [Valère] Germain and [Clinton] N'Jie came on. We picked up three points against a huge opponent. We know where we came from and what our goals are. We're getting closer to ensuring our survival. It was an amazing atmosphere for the players tonight. They felt the support, especially late in the game, when Marseille were pushing."
Rudi Garcia (Marseille coach): "This defeat is easy to explain: we only played well for 15 minutes at the start and another 15 minutes at the end. That's not enough. We were too reactive. It took two goals for us to wake up. Then we came up against an excellent goalkeeper [Edouard Mendy] who pulled off some incredible saves. As for Mario Balotelli, we knew he had only 60 or 70 minutes in his legs, but I still think his teammates could have found him more. He should be ready against Dijon."
Friday, 1 February, 2019
LOSC 4-0 OGC Nice
Patrick Vieira (Nice coach): "We were put through the ringer from start to finish. We came up against a much stronger team and didn't have the tools to put them under pressure. We didn't do well collectively or tactically. We made big mistakes and they took full advantage. We lacked aggression and let the game pass us by. Lille were simply too fast. We've done some good things in the last few months but tonight we came across a far superior team. We can't forget about our recent improvement."
Christophe Galtier (LOSC coach): "It was a great match. We started at a very high pace. Nice are a team that can punish you if you're not balanced but we made a great start, with a lot of intensity, speed and attacking intent. The players all seem happy to be here, happy playing together. We're enjoying moments that we couldn't last year. What can stop us? We can trip ourselves up, if we relax and are less demanding of ourselves. We might also suffer injuries or any number of clubs coming in for our players."