Great first. Appointed coach of Olympique Lyonnais last Saturday, in place of Laurent Blanc, Fabio Grosso will make his debut on the Rhone bench this Saturday evening (9 p.m.), against the surprising Stade Brestois (2nd in Ligue 1). This will be an opportunity to see in action the style that the Italian intends to imprint on his new team... at least if he has managed to put his stamp on it in a few days of work.
The former Frosinone Calcio technician - whom he brought up to Serie A last season - inherits a more than delicate sporting situation. In addition to catastrophic results (16th in the ranking with only two small points), most of its players seem to have a total lack of confidence. Their lack of realism (3 goals scored in 5 matches) says a lot. One of his first missions is to give them confidence: “I found a very serious group, with qualities. I am confident for the future... I have players who have had a great career and those who are just at the beginning. Choices will have to be made. Those who are on the bench or on the pitch must have the same state of mind because it shows that I count on them. The importance is to convey this confidence,” he explained in a pre-match press conference.
To succeed in his attempt, the Italian 2006 World Champion - executioner of the Blues during the penalty shootout - wants to take the time to listen to his group: "It's important to talk and listen. There are things that come out of it and all of that must serve to improve the team. Everyone has their qualities. I have to capitalize on each of his qualities. I always try to improve what I can improve and I try to do it with others,” he told journalists.
SEE ALSO - Fabio Grosso's first training session at Olympique Lyonnais
Upon arriving in the Rhône, Fabio Grosso also tackled the workload... by increasing it. It must be said that certain rumors suggested that under Laurent Blanc, Les Gones did not train enough (or not hard enough). Rumors perhaps (certainly?) started due to the fact that Olympique Lyonnais is one of the teams in the championship which runs the least at the start of the season. In any case, the former left-back, who wore the Rhone jersey between 2007 and 2009, decided, for example, to organize double sessions this week to prepare his players in the best possible way.
“The extra workload has been very well received by the players. We do things so that it serves a purpose, he assured. It was important to train more this week [...]. We think this is the best way to grow. I speak with the players. There is a good state of mind and the players are aware that we have to work… We lower the intensity a little as the match approaches to work on the small details.” This additional work is important so that the players can transcribe their coach's playing principles on the pitch, on the weekend.
While Laurent Blanc was a fan of a rather slow possession game, Fabio Grosso wants to be more “modern”. His game should be more vertical and more intense. “I really like playing football, the movement to create spaces. I want to give enthusiasm to the people who come to see us. Giving them respect means giving everything on the pitch. I know where I want to go. I believe in what we are doing,” he said at a press conference this Thursday. “He insisted on running forward and never being static,” confirmed Ernest Nuamah, Les Gones' star recruit this summer and whose qualities of speed and percussion should be perfectly expressed in this gameplay style.
However, like most (all?) Italian coaches, Fabio Grosso places particular importance on defense: “A team that wants to play well must first defend well. I tried to get this message across,” said the 45-year-old technician who finished best attack (63 goals scored) and best defense (26 goals conceded) in Serie B last season with Frosinone Calcio.
For Olympique Lyonnais to raise their heads this Saturday evening, facing a Stade Brestois in great form, capable of competing with the best teams in the championship (3-2 against RC Lens, 0-0 against Stade Rennais), it His players must have assimilated his speech well. Elements of answers from the final whistle.