Stéphan: 'We weren't in control'

UEFA Europa League

Rennes boss Julien Stéphan admitted that his side struggled against Celtic in their 1-1 draw; Sainté coach Ghislain Printant was disappointed at his side's display in the 3-2 loss to Gent and vowed to knuckle down and improve.

Thursday, 19 September 2019

UEFA Europa League Group E, Matchday 1

Roazhon Park, Rennes

 Stade Rennais FC 1 - 1 Celtic FC

Julien Stéphan (Stade Rennais FC coach): "We weren't in control of this match. It was clear that we're in a rebuilding phase, with many new players to integrate, who arrived late, at the end of the transfer window, after six major players left in the summer. We have to find collective points of reference and our busy schedule will enable us to do that. We were facing an experienced opponent, but we didn't open up enough space, and we gave them the opportunity to come back. On the other hand, we were well organised in terms of defence, even if we weren't brilliant offensively. This group will be very difficult and every point will count. Cluj's victory [2-1 over Lazio] confirms what we had said: we have to hold on to as many points as possible, and we will see at the end of the group stage if tonight was a case of a point won or two points lost."

Neil Lennon (Celtic FC coach): "Our second half was better, but I think we didn't deserve to be behind at the break, so we were disappointed. A penalty is a penalty, there's nothing to say. I think we were a better team, more compact, more comfortable. In the end, we still got one point, but we could have won it. It's a good start to the European Cup for us, even if we didn't finish the match as well as we would have liked, with yellow and red cards [for Vakoun Bayo, for two fouls on Da Silva and Mendy]. But still, I am satisfied."

UEFA Europa League Group I, Matchday 1

Ghelamco Arena, Ghent

 KAA Gent 3 - 2 AS Saint-Etienne

Jess Thorup (KAA Gent coach): "It was an emotional encounter. As a coach, matches like these take years from your life. I was shaking until the end. Fortunately, the ending was positive. Everyone knew it was a very important game. We started off well. After a few touches of the ball, it was already 1-0. A dream start, in other words. We went further up to 2-1 and then we started to coast. We gave Saint-Étienne the opportunity to get back into the game. And then the fear of losing hit us. Fortunately, the fans were behind us and the team so that we could still win."

Ghislain Printant (Saint-Etienne coach): "I am disappointed for our fans, the club and the players. The result was not in our favour and cannot lead to optimism. It is up to me to find the right words and remedies to quickly stop this spiral and get back to winning ways. We knew that Jonathan David [who scored a brace for Gent] was an excellent player; we knew he could end up playing as a playmaker and that he was operating behind the two strikers, it's no surprise. He benefited from our defensive largesse. We'll make sure we recover before we go to Angers on Sunday. It'll be important. We're going to have to make sure that we get the players to do what we want by being as honest as possible, by telling them the truth but also by staying with them through adversity. We'll get out of this together."


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