Watching brief for Reine-Adélaïde as OL take on old club
By D. Crossan
Life without Jeff Reine-Adélaïde begins for Angers at Olympique Lyonnais, the club the France Under-21s international has joined, on Friday evening.
Reine-Adélaïde will not play against his former club because of an agreement between the teams and will be formally presented as an OL player in a press conference three hours before kick-off. Reine-Adélaïde scored and set one up in Angers' season-opening win over Bordeaux and midfielder Thomas Mongani concedes the former Arsenal man will be much missed by Stéphane Moulin's side.
Mangani: "We're sad that he's left"
Mangani said: "We're sad that he's left but also happy for him. It's a good leap for his career and we've wished him good luck. He's a super player and played very well against Bordeaux. He's an important player for us, who has an enormous amount of quality. But I'm persuaded that - as in the past - other players will take over. We'll manage to compensate for his departure even if we'll miss him. It's down to us to adapt the best we can."
Among those to have left Angers in recent seasons are Nicolas Pépé and Flavien Tait. The club have a reputation for identifying future stars and may have unearthed another in Mathias Pereira Lage, who scored on his Ligue 1 Conforama debut against Bordeaux and laid on Reine-Adélaïde's goal. The Portugal Under-21s international midfielder joined from Clermont, where he had shone over the last couple of seasons in Domino's Ligue 2.
Pereira Lage said: "I saw that former Clermont players such as Pierrick Capelle and Famara Diedhiou had done well at Angers. I wanted to find a family club and at Angers I don't feel like a fish out of water."
The long-serving Mangani has been impressed with Angers' summer recruitment: "This year we have welcomed players into the squad with Ligue 1 experience, such as Sada Thioub, Casimir Ninga and Rachid Alioui. Before, we used to sign players from Ligue 2 and it took time for the recruits to find their feet, meaning we improved as the season went on. This year I hope we'll be ready from the off. Mathias, who had never played in Ligue 1, immediately hit the mark."
Denayer captain for Sylvinho's home bow
OL will be captained at home for the first time by Jason Denayer, the 24-year-old Belgian international defender. New OL coach Sylvinho justified his decision to hand the armband to the centre-half as he said: "Jason has natural leadership, a lot of charisma and a connection with both the young and experienced players at the club. He's been here for a season now and I think this responsibility I'm giving him will allow him to grow even more. He won't be isolated as I'll be counting on four or five players."
Sylvinho cannot wait to discover the matchday Groupama Stadium atmosphere and acknowledges it will be a special night for sporting director Juninho, who made his last OL appearance in 2009. Sylvinho commented: I'm very happy he's coming home and he's happy. I'm concentrating on this first home game and it's a big moment for the supporters. I hope the atmosphere will be great."
Olympique Lyonnais: Lopes; Dubois, Andersen, Denayer, Koné; Thiago Mendes, Tousart, Aouar; Traoré, Dembélé, Depay
Angers: Butelle; Manceau, Pavlovic, Thomas, Aït-Nouri; Santamaria; Capelle, Pajot, Mangani, Pereira Lage; Alioui