Foot Mercato: if you had been told that at the September break, Bordeaux would be 3rd, would you have believed it?
David Guion: we are always working to be as well ranked as possible, but it’s true that given all the ups and downs we encountered in the off-season and pre-season, we didn’t necessarily expect to be there. We have encountered a lot of hazards since the start of the season. But it also proves that it’s always interesting to find opportunities to seize when you’re in difficult times.
FM: after a chaotic season, how did you think about starting a new cycle?
CEO: very early on, we agreed with the management to leave with a new locker room. That was what was important. We wanted to change the mentality and recreate a state of mind around the training center and with more experienced boys. But with an irreproachable mentality. Hence the signature of N’Simba and Barbet. Two former Bordelais whose exceptional level and mentality we knew. It corresponded to what we were looking for to supervise these young people. We also wanted to keep boys with a good margin of progress. With the administrative vagaries, it was our first step. I quickly understood that I had to seek resources internally. I went to get players in the center to be able to make a coherent preparation.
FM: you were talking about renewing the locker room, you also renewed your staff. Was it necessary in your opinion?
CEO: it was a desire on my part to leave with a new framework. Almost everything has changed. Only André Monteiro remained. I really wanted to bring in someone with a lot of experience as a trainer since there are a lot of young people. And this post-training work is decisive with young people. Hence my choice to bring in Denis Zanko (note: former manager of the Toulouse training center). Then, we reviewed our athletic preparation and our model. We left with a new performance manager. And at the goalkeeper level, we had a great opportunity to seize with Josep Pascual. I was able to choose my staff to help supervise this whole group.
FM: what does Denis Zanko bring you?
CEO: already, he is very legitimate as a trainer by his background. He had just been champion of France with the U17s of Toulouse. We got to know each other a lot through our various internships at the DTN. We’ve known each other for a long time. I wanted that profile since he also has experience at Laval and Le Mans. He filled in a lot of boxes.
“We quickly saw that the boys adhered to our methodologies”
FM: how do you work when you are as much in the unknown as you were during the summer?
CEO: we must create the conditions for success. It is important. This is done through the competence and the requirement of the staff with whom we work. Then, what is decisive is that through this framework of requirements, the players take pleasure in training. We quickly saw that the boys adhered to our methodologies. And then the footballer is smart enough to see that if he progresses, he is necessarily better valued. We have seen that over the first three months, many have progressed. And I’m not just talking about young people, there is also Maja, Gregersen… But everything has to be validated by results. It’s easier to join when you win.
FM: you are back in L2 after your passage in 2018, how do you judge this championship 4 years later?
CEO: I have the impression that this championship has become a little more technical. I have the feeling that as in Ligue 1, the quality and competence of the staff are very important. This allows you to see meetings where there are real problems to be solved. Like in Ligue 1. On this level, it’s getting closer. Here, there is no PSG so all teams can fight. There is no easy match, there is always physical density and players who invest a lot. Tactically, there is progress. Afterwards, in Ligue 2, we find good players but there is not the individual quality of Ligue 1.
FM: Since the start of the season, it seems that there have been two stages. A first where the work was accessed on the defense, and for two matches, we have the feeling that the offensive animation is taking place …
CEO: we start with the basics. It’s true that it was important to create a framework of discipline and rigor on the pitch with a game system that corresponded to the players present. And I only had three attackers available (Bakwa, Maja, Delaurier-Chaubet). They were asked a lot. We know the importance of the side in the attacking game, we had to trust boys who were starting out at this level (Bokele and Ekomie). In our offensive animation, we were more behind. But it allowed these players to gain experience. It also allowed a boy like Josh Maja to resurface. And now, for two matches, I have the possibility of rotating in front with Badji and Zuriko.
“We needed a framework behind to support our young people, hence the choice of Yoann Barbet”
FM: what thought did you have around the mercato precisely?
CEO: we first started by knowing what we needed to achieve our objectives. We wanted a coherent squad for Ligue 2. Compared to last year, beyond the state of mind, we especially needed two full-backs. N’Simba joined us for that. Clement Michelin too. Then, we needed a framework behind to support our young people. Hence the choice of Yoann Barbet. Afterwards, as we had kept Fransergio and Ignatenko, in addition to the young Lacoux and Sissokho, we had what it took to fill the different roles. We therefore had to focus on the attack, because we were in difficulty. As soon as it was possible, we really wanted an extra centre-forward and a lane player. Now, we just have to work on the complementarity to integrate them into the project.
FM: the DNCG has limited the Bordeaux transfer window. Ideally, were you hoping for other players?
CEO: yes, we could have had other recruits. The idea was to have one or two more reinforcements. Now, in the meantime, our young people have shown great things and given good signals. Compared to what they showed us, it would be a shame not to give them a chance. They seized it and remain in the group. It also allows the club not to invest in other players.
FM: With this workforce, do you consider Bordeaux capable of achieving its objectives for the season (note: a rise in Ligue 1)?
CEO: it will be a very homogeneous Ligue 2. Until the last moment, it will be played on few things. It will be necessary to be spared from injuries, it is important to stay at the top. We will have to be regular, because we will be rewarded for that. Afterwards, he has had all his vagaries since the start of the season. I’m talking about refereeing and all that. You have to be able to control it, that’s a lot. The idea with this group was to give experience to these young people in the first phase. Now, we are going to attack the second phase, that is to say to integrate our 5 recruits. We don’t play the same when we have N’Simba and Michelin, than when we have Ekomie and Bokele. It’s also different when you have Bakwa and Delaurier-Chaubet or Badji and Zuriko Davitashvili. We have until the truce to see how we take things in hand when we are complete.
FM: Will the workforce change during the transfer window or are you more in the optics of having this group until the end of the season?
CEO: quite honestly, at the moment, I’m waiting to see how the new ones fit in. Badji has not started once again, Michelin too. Davitashvili only played once. The others have only played two matches and yet Barbet has not finished the last one. I need to see their performance status and how they will fit into the game plan. I like to look at what I already have in my group, then we’ll see what happens at the Cup break of the world. I will revisit the point.
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