Patrick Vieira was more worried about OGC Nice losing than the fact Olympique de Marseille's winning goal was scored by his former player, Mario Balotelli. Week 28 reactions...
Sunday, March 10, 2019
Olympique de Marseille 1-0 OGC Nice
Rudi Garcia (Marseille coach): "It was a good game. We really wanted to win to tighten our grip on the European places. It was a hard win against a team that defends well. We don't concede much either, but we had to pay attention to [Youcef] Attal and [Allan] Saint-Maximin. We could have opened the scoring with a set piece but we did it after Lucas [Ocampos]' cross and then Mario [Balotelli]'s class to win the match."
Patrick Vieira (Nice coach): "It was a difficult match, for Marseille too. It was a bit like the reverse fixture, overall we couldn't say that Marseille were better but in the end we lost. It's indicative of our season. We struggled to create chances but overall we weren't in too much danger. We were a bit naïve with the goal, we let Mario get free. At the end of the day it doesn't matter who scores. We lost. The players otherwise defended really well. Time will tell where we'll finish in the league."
Stade Rennais FC 3-1 SM Caen
Julien Stéphan (Rennes coach): "It has been a great week. We had a bit of difficulty at the start - we were a little slow out of the blocks. When you look at the energy we put in on Thursday evening, it is not a big surprise. Caen took advantage of a transition to score a lovely goal, but we were on top after that. We made the most of our numerical superiority. It was a similar game to Thursday, and it shows that the team is capable of imposing their game when they have the numerical advantage, of not giving anything to the opposition and of turning the screw when needed with a bit of patience and lucidity."
Fabien Mercadal (Caen coach): "The sending-off changed the match, just like on Thursday against Arsenal. The scenario was the same. We had hoped to take something from the game, even if they are the form team at the moment. We can't reproach the players for anything really. These games will have to help us become more mature. Yoël (Armougom) is a very good player, but a player for the future. He is still learning. We know that players like that sometimes cost us points when they are learning. We caused Rennes problems at the start. Obviously I wish them all the best on Thursday and we will be supporting them."
Montpellier Hérault SC 2-2 Angers SCO
Michel Der Zakarian (Montpellier coach): "We blew up in the second half, physically, technically and mentally. We were incapable of keeping the ball and making them chase it. We didn't get the goal to make it 3-0. Angers crushed us physically - they walked all over us. Luckily Benjamin (Lecomte) made two saves. Our defending at the two goals we let in was really bad. We were punished by Angers who deserved to come back and were better than us in the second half."
Stéphane Moulin (Angers coach): "At 10 against 11, we scored two magnificent goals to come back to 2-2. I am proud and pleased with what I saw. The introduction of Angelo (Fulgini) was decisive, because he scored and created a goal. I said to the players at half-time that we could come back into it. We just needed to get the first goal to have a hope. We never gave up. We felt it was possible, and we did it away to a contender for Europe. It feels like a little victory for the players. It would take a major collapse now for us not to stay up."
AS Saint-Etienne 0-1 LOSC
Jean-Louis Gasset (Saint-Etienne coach): "We knew Lille were a stronger and faster team on the break. We were lucky not to take a hiding in the first half, but then at the end we were pushing for a winner and lost it on the counterattack with three minutes left. The two sendings-off will handicap our squad which is already affected by injuries. We wanted to get back on track after the match at Marseille. We tried, but we were clumsy and not good enough technically. There was a bit of frustration after the goal. Our European hopes are not over. We have lost to the three teams - Paris, Lyon and Lille - who are fighting for the Champions League. We have lost to teams who are stronger than us. Now we will try to remobilise everyone. Not everything is to be thrown away, even if we have not been playing as well since January now."
Christophe Galtier (Lille coach): "It would have been unfair to lose but in the last 10 minutes nobody knew what could happen. We created the better chances. I was convinced that we would win if we scored first. After seeing the Lyon result at Strasbourg, we wanted to make sure we did as well as them to maintain the gap, but we also wanted to go out and play and take risks to get the points. The gap is big. If we remain serious until the end, we might qualify for Europe. If we are really hungry, and we accept the demands every day, we will battle all the way for a podium place."
Toulouse FC 1-0 EA Guingamp
Alain Casanova (Toulouse coach): "The players showed great determination and deserved their victory. We could have got ourselves further ahead to avoid a stressful end to the match but I have to congratulate the players for their mentality. Nothing is decided yet - we need to remain humble and keep working hard."
Jocelyn Gourvennec (Guingamp coach): "We lost this match because we didn't turn up in the first half. On top of that, we found ourselves down to 10 men before the interval. It would have been miraculous had we come back, even if we had a chance to do so. It is a shame because we had the chance to drag Toulouse into it."
Saturday, March 9, 2019
RC Strasbourg Alsace 2-2 Olympique Lyonnais
Thierry Laurey (Strasbourg coach): "When you gift your opponent a goal three minutes in, it complicates things, especially when that opponent's Lyon. Of course, it was difficult. They pressed us and we were panicky. We had to sort this at half-time. I'm glad the boys didn't give up, that the substitutes contributed. Stealing a point like this is good for us, psychologically, and for our league standing. We now have 38 points and that that my squad is mature and has a good state of mind."
Bruno Génésio (Lyon coach): "For the first hour we did everything right, led 2-0 and had the game under control. Unfortunately, we were unable to control our nerves. We made it difficult for ourselves by being overconfident, or perhaps it was a lack of maturity. It's really a shame to ruin this game with avoidable mistakes. Barcelona will be another match in another competition so we can't make a comparison. We wanted to build our confidence and we were on course, but we ruined everything in the space of ten or 12 minutes."
Amiens SC 2-1 Nîmes Olympique
Christophe Pelissier (Amiens coach): "We enjoyed ourselves. We had a very good match, but we still have battles to win. If we repeat this kind of performance we should stay up. But we need to stay humble. What we tried in training this week worked, and in the second half we had the willpower to find the equaliser. The only down side is Serhou Guirassy's deserved red card. That'll handicap us."
Bernard Blaquart (Nîmes coach): "It was a poor match against a very determined team. Their strike partnership [Guirassy and Moussa Konaté] were very impressive. They didn't play in the reverse fixture [which Nîmes won 3-0], perhaps that explains it. We struggled to get the ball out. We didn't play like we're capable of. Amiens posed a big physical and athletic challenge that we had no answer for."
Dijon FCO 1-1 Stade de Reims
Antoine Kombouaré (Dijon coach): "We made a catastrophic start to the match, with Senou Coulibaly sent off after two minutes and then conceding a goal seven minutes later. It's positive that we knew how to react quickly by equalising soon after. The players gave everything, they didn't give up and showed great character. We could have lost this game 5-0 but we made it 1-1. It was crucial to stop this losing run, and given how it played out, we can only be happy that we drew."
David Guion (Reims): "We had total control of the match: my players had 25 shots on goal. I think everyone but our goalkeeper had a chance. This proves that we tried to win, but football can be cruel. The fact we had a man advantage helped us create so many chances. We should have done more against a struggling opponent. We took a point, we move on, but we're inevitably disappointed because we deserved to win."
AS Monaco 1-1 Girondins de Bordeaux
Leonardo Jardim (Monaco coach): "This isn't a good point because we controlled the game and created a lot of chances. We are fighting to survive. We're always in danger and it won't be easy. The goal is to take all the points available. We worked hard for these three points today but we didn't succeed. The players are sad. Our opponents didn't do anything special, even though [Benoît] Costil played a great match. We just took 12 points from six games. Before that the team was averaging a point per match. We want to secure our top-flight status as soon as possible. Amiens' win isn't important. We only think about ourselves."
Éric Bedouet (Bordeaux coach): "My fate's not important. Above all, it was important to break this negative spiral. Today we saw fighting spirit and willpower. I enjoyed that. We wanted to play well against a very good team with top players. [Paulo Sousa, Bordeaux's new permanent coach] came to introduce himself this afternoon. He met the players before the team talk but he showed class and let that then go ahead. That was greatly appreciated. I don't know what my future is but I'll adapt. I've had a great time, even at press conferences.