Interview Christophe Pélissier (AJ Auxerre): “If we move up to L1, we will have to be very humble”

Christophe Pélissier, what is your first assessment regarding this season of League 2 where Auxerre is leader with three days remaining?

Christophe Pélissier. : We had a quality season. We must not forget that we were still on a descent and that is never easy. There is always trauma. But the club managed this descent very, very well with a lot of work and a very good squad build-up. We were lucky to have a group receptive to our game project. Everything fell into place from the start of the championship. For the moment, the season is very successful, notably with this best attack in Ligue 2 (66 goals). Now we hope it ends well for us.

Putting our line on the AJA list would be a Source of great pride.

If you beat Paris FC on Saturday (3 p.m.), you will have a three-quarter foot in Ligue 1. If you had been told last summer that you would be in this position three days from the end, would you would have believed?

CP: I think it will be done if we win on Saturday considering our goal difference (+31 for Auxerre and +12 for Angers). Afterwards, if someone had told me that we would be first, three days from the end with six points ahead of third, we would have signed with both hands. If we had had a third, we would have done it too (laughs). When you suffer a downturn, it’s never easy to remobilize an entire club and an entire locker room. In the end, AJ Auxerre worked very well as a whole. When we see the enthusiasm around the team, with practically all the matches sold out at home… The public identified with this team thanks to what it showed on the field but it was not not won at the start of the season. The credit goes to the players who listened from the start of the preparation.

You brought Amiens (2017), Lorient (2020) and very probably Auxerre (2024) into Ligue 1. What is your secret?

CP: No, there is no secret. There is simply work. There is also unity within the club. When this is the case, performance often follows behind. As I say, you are a better coach when you have very good players, which is the case for me this season.

If you win the Ligue 2 championship, it would be the first title for AJ Auxerre since 2005. At the time, Guy Roux won the Coupe de France final against Sedan (2-1)…

CP: We all know what Guy Roux represents at the AJA. AJ Auxerre is simply Guy Roux. He has done extraordinary things within the club. Today, putting our line on the club’s list would be a Source of great pride.

If you move up, will the objective for next season in Ligue 1 be to maintain it?

CP: Yes. If we are lucky enough to be there, we will have to be very humble. Already, Guy Roux also said it in his time every year. Generally, a promoted person cannot aim for anything other than retention.

Auxerre struck a major blow by beating Angers on February 10, 2024.

Credit: Getty Images

Gauthier Hein is the type of player we want to keep

Concerning the transfer window, are there already positions where you want to strengthen next season?

CP: We’ve been working on it for a while of course. But it’s too early to talk about it. Everything in its time. I like to finish a season before starting another. And we have an exciting end to the season to play for with a rise to L1 and a title to win.

Will Gauthier Hein, a major player in AJA this season and nominated for the UNFP Trophies for the title of best player in Ligue 2, be in Auxerre next season?

CP: You have to ask him the question. He is under contract (until June 2026) with the AJA. He is a boy full of qualities. He will, of course, be in demand. It will be up to him to see which project he wishes to prioritize for his career. Would I like to have him in my squad again? All coaches want to have the best players and he is one of them, so yes of course. He’s the type of player we want to keep.

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