Strasbourg on the up
Strasbourg head to Metz on Saturday evening in improved spirits after managing to turn around their Ligue 1 Conforama form.
The defence of their Coupe de la Ligue trophy may have ended on penalties at Reims on Tuesday yet they are through to the round of 32 of the Coupe de France and are on a run of three consecutive league victories. Just over a month ago, Strasbourg were demolished 5-0 at Brest and things did not look good. Captain Stefan Mitrovic said: "That was a disgraceful performance! It's not possible to lose 5-0 like that We can't repeat that performance, and if we do, this season is going to really long."
That defeat was the biggest the club has suffered since Thierry Laurey took over in July 2016.. Laurey commented: "We hadn't our trousers pulled down that way before, not since I've been here anyway! so we're a little sore! We certainly won't be forgetting that for a while"
The Alsace side needed just four days to react though, as they smashed Toulouse 4-2 back on home soil. Then a trip to Bordeaux, and a win at the Matmut Atlantique, backed up signs of a revival. After the success at Les Girondins Laurey said: "We were very efficient, very focused and as if by magic, it paid! In the end, the defeat in Brest was a lesson. The lads understood that they can't allow themselves to lose focus, especially away from home you have to respect the opposition. I'm not saying that we didn't respect Brest, but we weren't focused enough at all!"
Strasbourg then downed Saint-Etienne to make it three consecutive wins for the first time this season. A real turnaround in fortunes! Laurey pointed to the Alsace club's spirit: "That serves as proof of the mental strength we have. When we fight all together, it makes things much easier than when everyone just does their own thing. We made mistakes, we missed chances but we battled together, and that is what was most important!"
After a poor start to the campaign, last seasons Coupe de la Ligue winners sit 11th in the table ahead of this weekend. The thrashing in Brest seems to have done Strasbourg good.