Galtier, failed French Cup, his future ... Julien Fournier rises to the niche and defends his record at OGC Nice

Galtier, failed French Cup, his future … Julien Fournier rises to the niche and defends his record at OGC Nice


How do you feel about the past season?

There are several readings and I think people have a third. It has been said and repeated, we wanted to be in the fight with the best in Ligue 1 for as long as possible. At this point, the goal is achieved with a European qualification on the 38th day. We only failed one point in fourth place.

This famous point lost after the incidents against OM

I’m not going to take refuge behind that, there are games that should have been won and that wasn’t the case. But there is also an accounting reality, it is true.

The team showed a lot of character, at times

It’s a satisfaction, the group has evolved well mentally. We were rightly blamed for a lack of character, aggression, and combativeness. The boys were level on that. Again, this is a satisfaction.

We can still regret the second part of the season, where you slipped from 2nd to 5th place…

Until the Marseille match, we are on the podium, more than ever fighting. So, yes, I realize I’m the billionth person to make that joke. We are disappointed to be in this place, it means that this club is growing, I like it. I experienced the maintenance on the last day…

The missed and lost French Cup final against Nantes did a lot of harm…

(Direct) Yes.

Did she come to ruin everything?

I don’t think so.

Do you have an explanation for this fiasco?

It was difficult to think of anything else given the way this finale was approached.

That is,?

I accompanied the staff during the preparation. It worked super well, left nothing to chance but the original plan was not the right one. Because, when I asked how Nantes was going to approach this final, I was told that we were going to be caught in the throat, be assaulted, that we were going to end up in a low block, that we had to be strong and well. defend. The limit of my career ends there, the coach has all the power to give the direction he wants to his team. I never ventured into the technical or tactical field but I thought “shit”. This was not the best way to approach this final psychologically.

Clearly, you think Nice was too chilly?

Yes, of course. And I didn’t see Nantes jump down our throats and block us down. We were not actors in this final. It’s very unpleasant as a sensation. Disappointment lived up to expectations. Failure to meet such an achievable goal is terribly frustrating. It wasn’t PSG in front I’m horrified when we suffer, and it’s valid on a daily basis.

Since then, we have felt a real break with Christophe Galtier…

Yes, because people thought they were allowed to talk. Those will recognize each other. It is not responsible for delivering so many negative messages and it is disrespectful to the institution.

We feel distrustful of your coach…

I’m not aiming for it, it’s just a very objective read. The second half of the season cannot be reduced to a so-called missed market because they have taken on an “Angers replacement”, according to some. This is a false excuse or a screen for another reality. We are not second to the truce by chance. At the end of the season, we no longer control our games, we only score on individual feats, which means that our players have some qualities. But there was no collective strength on the offensive front. There may not have been the intentions and know-how for that.

To hear you feel a hint of regret over the choice of your coach last summer…

We are sometimes judged on decisions made a year earlier, ignoring the context of the time. With Christophe, we talked, of course, about our style of play, the construction of our staff in 4-3-3, his very specific way of evolving in 4-4-2. There were questions about this or that player, we had some, but he raised his doubts so much he wanted to come. It reassured me, even though I knew we were getting a little out of the way. It was assumed because we lacked character and Christophe embodies that. You can’t take away his desire to win, his organization… Normally, it’s a coach who unites a group and a club towards a goal. This year, he has performed less well on this point.

Take the example of Calvin Stengs, a player who never integrated into the 4-4-2…

It has been the subject of a long debate. We’ve been talking to Calvin for months. He is a 4-3-3 player, who does not naturally defend in a line of four with his side. I warned Christophe about his lack of aggression. He insisted that it be done because he wanted a player who could come inside. It was a healthy debate. Unfortunately, we were right…

Will Christophe Galtier still be the coach of OGC Nice next season?

He still has two years left on his contract, so normally yes. Nothing is irreparable. I had a hard time with Claude (Puel), it was hot sometimes. I am never definitive on these topics.

However, it’s been three weeks since the championship ended and the blur has settled around the club. What’s going on?

How did you get here? I have been announcing my departure for many weeks but what you have been told is not happening.

Are you going to leave the club?

We will take stock in September, after the market. It was agreed with the shareholders that we were entering a crucial moment. They are high-level people, a chance for the people of Nice.

So you’re going to negotiate with future recruits?

Yes, I’m here. Some at the club compare me to Highlander but I’m not Highlander (laughs). It is the shareholder who has complete freedom or not to work with certain people. But it’s been almost twelve years since I’ve been here, I’m getting closer and closer to the release by definition. I won’t be twelve years old but I still have so much fun in Nice.

Have you been contacted by PSG for a possible transfer of your coach?

I read that Paris would be interested but, for the time being, this is not the case. Paris is one of the ultimate clubs, like Real Madrid, Barça… Even if you grow up, you stay nice and you can’t fight. If Paris is looking for him, it’s because we weren’t so wrong. But the more the days go by, the more complicated it will be for PSG because we have a season to prepare. It’s going to have to change quickly.

Have you been exchanging with him since the end of the season?

No, he’s on vacation. He deserves to rest after a trying season.

You have always defended Kasper Dolberg. How do you explain this slow deliquescence of its performance?

(He pauses) Christophe should be asked the question. Maybe he has the answers. I have an opinion, not an analysis. It will not occur to me that Kasper is a rare player on the opposing surface. So he has to be in that area and not think about defending too much.

In retrospect, do you regret recruiting Billal Brahimi at the last mercato?

No, it’s not stubbornness. Let’s get back to the context. In January, we are second in Ligue 1. At the moment, we lack verticality, legs, percussion. We identify a player profile and we go to the market. With 50 million euros, the story is not the same. Billal had the profile he was looking for. Afterwards, either we try to shoot 100% of a player, or we consider, before we even start the adventure, that he will not have his chance. For the record, he is the one who offers the goal of victory to Andy (Delort) in Reims. Every time he played, he showed character in a delicate context. He didn’t show his flaws, but he was hit. I couldn’t imagine getting there. It’s so counterproductive.

The price of the transfer was also debated (around seven million euros). Was it to relieve Angevin finances?

(Surprised) I don’t even understand that I could be asked the question. I don’t think it’s overpaid. The future will tell.

Aren’t you too chilly on some shots?

What does that mean?

That you tend to spend less than the allotted envelope

I never spent the money we didn’t have, that’s a basic principle. Other colleagues of mine can do it, I don’t know. On the other hand, we spend 100% of what is possible but there are rules, a DNCG, financial fair play. Unlike many clubs, you don’t have a full stadium, so fewer sponsors, less revenue. As a reminder, 120 million euros were spent to build this team. Today it is valued at 250 million euros, with the sixth payroll in Ligue 1. Here, there are no corpses. Everything is done cleanly. I will leave OGC Nice in peace.

What about your relationship with Jean-Pierre Rivère?

He just called me twice, there (laughs). We’re an old couple, I’m proud of that.

The link seems unbreakable between you…

Yes, he was very important and exemplary at some difficult times in my life. That doesn’t stop us from “catching up.” He will never convince me on certain points and vice versa. With Jean-Pierre, the tone can go up and then? I have a lot of consideration for him, I hope he has some for me too.

In recent seasons, Jean-Pierre Rivère has been further away from certain sporting orientations…

The club has evolved, as has its role. But I need him. We went from a two-way relationship to a three-way meeting with a shareholder. Things have changed temporarily.

One man, Dave Brailsford, seems to be gaining in importance within the club. What about it?

Ineos wants OGC Nice to be fully integrated into its group. He hadn’t had time to conduct this audit, it’s a very good thing that’s going on. Dave is the director of sports, he discovers the club, the people, how we work. This can only be beneficial for the club as it is a brilliant, intelligent person who has already won. He is well versed in the issues of high-level sport. His limit, and he knows it, is his ignorance of football.

Could you have worked with Luis Campos?

I met him two months ago. It’s always interesting to talk to a counterpart. He has qualities that I do not have and I think, modestly, that I have that he does not have. I don’t know if we would have been complementary. On the other hand, what I do know is that we have people undervalued at OGC Nice, who stay in the shadows so that they don’t sting me. These are the members of my recruiting cell. I am very confident, the club is not giving up. You just have to be more discriminating with the help you render toward other people.

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