Hexagoal Ligue 1 Trophy

Work in progress for Sousa at Bordeaux

Publish on 21/04/2019 at 00:00 - S. WILLIS


In the second part of an exclusive interview, Paulo Sousa talks to the Ligue 1 Show about trying to get his ideas across to a young squad at Girondins de Bordeaux, where he became coach last month.

With his squad made up in its large part of young players, successfully implementing his tactical set-up - one that has so far revolved around players being able to occupy different positions - is a work in progress.

There have been highs, like the 2-0 win against Olympique de Marseille. However, there have been lows too, like the 3-0 loss at AS Saint-Etienne last weekend and Saturday's 2-1 reverse at Nîmes Olympique.

"Not only the young players but also players with already a certain age, all of them they can grow," Sousa told The Ligue 1 Show on beIN Sports.

"It starts first with a question of attitude. Our brain, we have two parts, the conscience and the subconscious. Here we are used to drive on the right side, you go to England you go to drive on left side. Your first thing in your mind is to go to the right side, it's typical. The football, also it's that! When the player recognises all these things together it means, you have a moment, you need to analyse, you need to decide and then you need to execute. And this is what we keep working, this is the way I coach."

'Hunger to achieve'

So far Sousa hasn't shied away from throwing his young players in at the deep end. Last weekend at Saint-Etienne, six of his starting XI were between 19 and 22 years old. The 20-year-old Jules Koundé, who was making his 50th top flight appearance, is showing the way for his peers.

"We are happy with these players," Sousa said "Jules is a boy we can understand from the first second that desire, that hunger to achieve, it's there on a daily basis.

"You can see his face, it's 'give me things, I want to learn I want to play, I want to perform, I want to keep growing.' Understand? For a coach, for my staff, it's fantastic to see this kind of things.

"The same with the other ones, (Toma) Basic for example is a player, we start to ask him also different things, it is difficult for him but we need to keep the right direction, the right motivation to keep growing like the other ones.

"I think it's a question of timing this process, because the talent, they have it, and they have the right attitude."

As he plans ahead for next season, Sousa will inevitably look to strengthen his squad, and every project needs a star. So just where is the inspiration going to come from?

"The big star in the team needs to be the whole team. The team is above each player. And this is really important for the mentality we want to have: ambition, ambition, ambition, great mentality, mentality to win games but recognising, I deliver for all the team and so far I've been delighted with what I've seen."

Pauleta inspiration

Another source of inspiration for a young team could be a former Girondins hero, and a former Portugal team-mate of Sousa's...

"Pauleta, also himself, when we are talking about desire, hunger to achieve. He was a boy who arrived from an island nobody knows, and he developed himself. And he was recognised because he had this hunger and desire to perform."

Pauleta and Sousa are not the only links between Portugal and Bordeaux. In the 1980's, Girondins legend Fernando Chalana wrote one of the first pages of what is a now fruitful love story between Portuguese talent and Ligue 1.

"I got the opportunity to play together with Chalana, in Benfica. For that it was something really special because he was a player for that time, outstanding," Sousa said.

"But regarding Portugal and France, what I can say, I say one was a European champion, the other is now the world champion. They are two countries who develop top players, and keep developing, with the best individuals, and they will keep developing because I can see also in French football, players with the possibility to achieve the elite of football.

"As a coach and as a person who loves to grow, how I can grow? By competing with the best players, with top coaches and to be the most competitive, and for that I'm really happy to be here."