« Did you dream of beating Milan at San Siro on this score and with such superiority?
I thought we could win it, yes. With a strategy and the will of our players to surpass themselves. But 3-0, here, I had not dreamed it, no. We had a difficult first quarter of an hour. From the moment our organization was set up, the game opened up a little more, the players took ownership of the game. They achieved what they wanted to do. And they have outdone themselves. It was the key to our talk. I am proud of them. They had a great performance. On a personal level, I had some big victories with Saint-Etienne in the European Cup. But beating Milan, who hadn’t lost in twenty-four matches, is without doubt my greatest achievement.
Can you tell us about the dressing room and the words you said to Renato Sanches when he left the pitch?
There was a lot of happiness, joys, cries, songs. The players knew the significant media exposure. And that you have to be present in this kind of meeting, when the spotlight is on you. They have seized this opportunity. I told Renato that when he was at that level, that he channeled himself, he was playing a very great game. If we have to analyze his meeting, he helped his partners, he was very good technically to break the lines. But it is also an overall success because the associations have worked well.
Yusuf Yazici also made an impression with a hat trick …
Yes, when you score a hat-trick in a match like this, it’s because you’ve been exceptionally good. But he also bowed to the collective demands in the first defensive curtain. Yusuf has a different profile from all the other players. The Europa League should not be appropriated to Yusuf because there is also the Championship. But I love to see her smile at parties like this. Can he play the role of Victor Oshimen and Nicolas Pépé? He likes to be decisive. It is important. If he repeats this kind of performance and remains at the service of the collective, the collective will give it back to him.
And what did you say to Zlatan Ibrahimovic?
I hadn’t been able to see him before the game. I told him I was happy to greet him, that at 39 he was still an important player. He just congratulated me.
How did you feel about your troops before the start of the match?
I felt they were ready yesterday (Wednesday) in training. That they understood most of what we wanted to put in place. There was demand, concentration. We worked on their confidence, on what they are capable of doing. It’s the group cohesion that explains our performance. I had asked for movement, to be dynamic and to surpass myself. “