Gasset hails Genesio as derby looms
AS Saint-Etienne boss Jean-Louis Gasset has made an extraordinary speech in praise of his Rhône derby rival, OL coach Bruno Genesio, in the lead-up to Friday night's Ligue 1 Conforama Week 14 clash at the Groupama Stadium.
With the Rhône derby - perhaps the biggest fixture of the each season for both ASSE and OL - just two days away, AS Saint-Etienne coach Jean-Louis Gasset has highlighted what he sees a lack of respect for his OL counterpart Bruno Genesio, often the target of fan and media criticism but in fact an extremely accomplished coach, according to former PSG assistant boss Gasset.
'He is doing an extraordinary job'
After spending a few minutes in his pre-match press conference discussing the normal derby-related matters - "honour, courage, price and club values" - and tempering that "people want to make you believe that the derby is the last match of your life, but you have to keep it in perspective", Gasset launched into a paean concerning the man who will be in the opposite dugout on Friday night.
"He is doing an extraordinary job. But I know from experience that coaching at the club where you made your professional debut as a player, where you played for a time and where you were an assistant or youth coach, is extremely difficult," declared the man who played for ten seasons in his native Montpellier before a 13-year stint as assistant coach and one season in the top job. "When you're at home like this, people are familiar with you and everyone wants to give you advice, but for them you have no charisma. People see you as a worker and struggle to see you as the boss."
'I take my hat off to Bruno'
Would Gasset have had any advice for Genesio last season, when he came under fire for a poor string of results?
"I would have advised him to resign, because it's not he who was suffering, but his family," explained the Sainté boss. "People are cruel. When I saw my family suffering, I said, 'I quit'. And president [the late Montpellier owner Louis] Nicollin undertsood. This is the way it is: when a famous coach comes in, whatever goes wrong is never their fault. When you're homegrown, if you win it's the players, and if you lose, it's all you. It's exhausting, so, in all sincerity, I take my hat off to Bruno. No-one has given him any credit for getting the win away to Manchester City [2-1 in the UEFA Champions League], for beating Pep Guardiola. No-one."
Birds of a feather
Despite being rivals in one of the country's fiercest derbies, Gasset identifies quite clearly with Genesio.
"We've had similar paths, making the bulk of our careers in one club," he explained. "We were both hard-working midfielders in our playing days and we both rose up through the ranks at our respective clubs to one day be the number one. And he's still there; he's staying the course and doing it well. When I see how the players react with him, it's clear that they are with him. And if the club president always comes to his defence, it's because he has enormous confidence in him and that he knows he is good at his job."
The first Rhône derby of 2018-19, kicks off Ligue 1 Conforama's Week 14 at 21:00 CET at the Groupama Stadium in Lyon.