US Orléans' Yahia: PSG clash 'a huge plus'
Former US Orléans defender and current sporting director Anthar Yahia is thrilled that his Domino's Ligue 2 club has been drawn to do battle with the mighty Paris Saint-Germain in the Coupe de la Ligue BKT's round of 16…
You've been drawn in a home tie with Paris Saint-Germain in the Coupe de la Ligue BKT's round of 16. How does it feel?
"We wanted, or were hoping for, a home tie. And for it to be a match of this quality is a huge plus in relation to the season we're having. This clash with PSG is important for the city and for our players, coach and the whole club… We need to have matches like this to keep our projects moving forwards."
It's a particularly special match for your midfielder Yohan Demoncy, who is a product of the Paris Saint-Germain youth system…
"Yohan made a definitive move here after being loaned out for six months by PSG. This is a very important match for him against the club where he came up - naturally it has a very special flavour."
What are your thoughts on the Coupe de la Ligue BKT ?
"Personally, I've always loved this competition, even as a player. You can go all the way quicker than you can in the Coupe de France. At any rate, we love both the cups and we'll do all we can to keep it going in the Coupe de la Ligue BKT."
Despite a bit of a dip of late, US Orléans have had a promising start tot he season (eighth in Domino's Ligue 2 and victorious in three rounds of the Coupe de la Ligue BKT)…
"We had a prickly start to the season, with defeats to RC Lens, FC Metz and AJ Auxerre in the first three rounds. We were conscious of the difficulties that lay ahead of us this season, but we're also keeping in mind that we're restructuring the club at every level. We have put a lot into the development of our youth academy, which depends to some extent on our securing our Domino's Ligue 2 survival. There are a lot of projects under way at US Orléans, which is also great for the city of Orléans."
These last few years, you've managed to recruit some key players (Karim Ziani, Cédric Cambon, Pierre Bouby, Anthony Le Tallec) who are performing well out on the pitch. Has this been a driving force in the progress you have made?
"It's important not to get it wrong when signing guys like this; you have to make sure that your quality recruits have the right mentality. Especially when you have means such as ours - the 19th-biggest budget in Domino's Ligue 2. We don't have very much wiggle room at all and we need to be much more precise than our rivals do. But we're not crying about it. With Didier (Ollé-Nicolle), our coach, we're doing very well and we're extremely happy."