Metz – Stade Rennais / Stéphan: “Whatever the outcome, it will have been a disappointing season”

Metz – Stade Rennais / Stéphan: “Whatever the outcome, it will have been a disappointing season”
Metz – Stade Rennais / Stéphan: “Whatever the outcome, it will have been a disappointing season”

Before the trip to Metz, Julien Stéphan attended a press conference. Excerpts.

Match preparation: The start of the week was difficult. It took a time of digestion then a time of projection. It’s finally going quite quickly, we’re already two days before the match. Project yourself onto this opponent from Metz, facing an opponent who is playing for his skin, his survival in Ligue 1, with what difficulties that will entail. You will have to be ready mentally and in terms of the game to respond to their specificities.

Anger : We tell each other things. Obviously there are changes in tone, and after a match like that it is necessary to be transparent and honest. But there is also the need to stay united, to unite, because the season is not over. We also need to unite and bring everyone along.

Instructions not respected against Brest: Yes, no surprises in this match. What also makes us angry is that at the end of the match and in the post-match, we only talk about the shortcomings, we did not praise the quality of the match. It was a great match with two teams who had a constant desire to play, to cause problems for the opponent. We created many more chances than Brest. There is also something that has been kept quiet, due to the result. I’m not criticizing, but it was also a very spectacular match. A lot of good things have been done around that, particularly on offensive animation, collective action, character. Coming back to 4-4 had never happened since the start of the season, it was also a show of character. It was destroyed by these 5 goals.

Defense : This was not the case in the second part of the season defensively, we were not badly ranked. There it is certain that after the 5 goals conceded we went back lower. We hadn’t experienced this yet, for 4-5 months. It’s the whole block. We knew that Mounié was very difficult to control in the area so we wanted to solve the problem at the Source. It is a collective problem that had to be resolved, and not stigmatize one or the other.

Group that dropped: I don’t consider it mentally failing, far from it. Afterwards we will see in the last 3 matches, it will be revealing on a mental level. We won in Nantes, we had a very good match in Monaco without being rewarded, we missed 2 matches, Strasbourg and Toulouse. That doesn’t mean we gave up. (…) But we are not going to give up, that is clear and clear. We don’t plan to give up. There is no question of leaving anything, and I hope that we will all be in that state of mind.

Group working: It’s the truth. This week was probably more difficult mentally, but they worked hard. We’ll see what happens in the last 3 matches.

Group which must mobilize for a less exciting objective than at the start of the season: That’s also why, and I think that internally you must blame me, that I always said to you “let’s see what will happen in the weeks to come”, when we rebounded strongly. Getting back into the race was one thing. I will never forget and I cannot forget what we arrived for, why the mission was, the objective. I cannot forget the speech we had and the communication behind it in line with the objectives that had been set. It took a lot of energy and mobilization to get back into the race. It turns out that we had some slack and we weren’t able to continue behind. But it’s not over, there are 3 games left. We have to finish in the best way possible and we’ll see what happens at the end.

Unmet initial objectives which weigh on the club: Yes, I feel that it weighs, that it is difficult to live through that. You have to be honest and transparent. Whatever the outcome of the season, it will be a season below expectations, and it will have been a disappointing season. Things have to be said. But when we say that, what are we doing behind it? It’s not over. What we do behind to bounce back is certainly the most important thing, and it is in this moment that the club must also find itself today. It has happened to all clubs in recent years to miss a season. This does not mean that the project stops, that the ambitions stop. We will do our best to finish in the best possible way. I hope we will have the energy, the quality on the pitch, the collective quality to finish this season well. Then afterwards it will be time to take stock.

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