Christophe Galtier is a fulfilled trainer. His team ended the first part of the season with a great victory at the Parc (5-0). Hugo Ekitike scored his first goal with Paris. No international was injured on the eve of the World Cup. Kimpembe played again. In a press conference, he was able to discuss all these points before taking a breather with his family and then going to Qatar to observe a few matches including the opening match next Sunday and the first of the Blues.
It seemed that some big European teams were a bit on the brakes on the eve of the World Cup. This was not the case for Paris…
CHRISTOPHER GALTIER. Yes, I looked at what happened for the teams that qualified for the Champions League. Obviously without any player sending me a signal of concern, even fear, on this match my obsession was that my team be able to express themselves as freely as possible. In this sense, we did sessions so as not to be in this psychosis of this famous injury. In the three sessions of the week, I saw players invested. Today they gave a very nice answer. They were serious, applied. Of course it’s a good Sunday afternoon. Because 1. you had to win. Lens is making an incredible run for a second. And we, we are also doing a very good course, but we had to win to maintain a certain gap. The obsession was not to be undefeated but to win. By scoring a lot of goals it makes the game less tough and less dangerous. From the moment my players made the difference, I focused on management. It would be a great sadness that one of my players who was to leave for the World Cup is injured. And I quickly made changes to protect each other.
How did Kimpembe train this week and what was the plan for him?
Yesterday, he did 100% of the session, the day before 80%. He worked a lot at the start of the week individually. Members of the staff came to discuss, observe and watch the work. I didn’t want to start him because he hadn’t played for a long time. But it was one of my priorities in the changes from the moment things were going well that Kim could find feelings on the ground.
We saw you very satisfied with Ekitike’s goal…
We are all happy for him. A few weeks ago he asked to chat with me. For a young boy I found him very mature and very structured. He was chomping at the bit, he was in frustration. I told him to take advantage of every moment in the sessions in contact with the best players in the world. Progress is true that it goes through matches, minutes played, but when you are in such a workforce it also goes through training sessions. He had taken a bit of a morale hit when he was not established in Reims. He had let go at that time, that can be understood. The work of the staff and mine was to remobilize him, so that he could find a great determination to train. And session after session he got back into the requirement, in the intensity. So. He takes the rhythm, the benchmarks. For a striker he had been unhappy in Lorient even if he was behind the first goal. There he came in and scored. It’s very good for him. He was waiting for this first goal at the Park and in the Parisian jersey. It’s a feeling of satisfaction for him and for the team and I saw his partners very happy for him and that’s a good sign.
Isn’t this 40 day cut frustrating?
The season is like that. She is unique. With an incredible schedule. We are first, undefeated. I believe that only Naples has made the same journey in the league. We worked on different systems. It took some time to find the best animation for the fantastic three to express themselves as well as possible. Obviously when we found that it was very interesting. With that, you have to find the best balance. After the Lorient match, there were things that I didn’t like but we worked in another way by trying to be higher. There are still many lines of work. The only small regret I have, even though it was an incredible scenario in our Champions League group stage, is that we didn’t beat Benfica. But we are qualified.
“Don’t fall into a comfort zone”
How do you feel after this first part of the season?
I take great pleasure. I stay focused. A lot. And I ask the people I work with not to fall into a comfort zone. There will be a very exciting second part of the season. There will be a focus on the state in which our internationals will return. I hope that the World Cup will be able to travel to the Park and that players will bring us this magnificent trophy. There will be a very special month of January depending on everyone’s state of form. And a focus with this meeting on the double confrontation against Bayern. There will be a lot of work, reflection, to try to find other animations to be effective all the time and also surprise the opponents and sometimes also surprise the players.
How will you manage the truce and the return of the Globalists?
On players not leaving, not everyone is on vacation. Some need to work and won’t have a three-week break. Those who haven’t had a lot of playing time won’t stay like that for three weeks. There will be an official resumption from December 5-6 and we will see from that moment where our globalists will be. There is a reflection on the recovery they are going to have to have behind this competition with players unhappy, disappointed, angry and others happier, I hope. The happiest will have played very late but we have performance obligations and results in the league. I work with my staff so that there are at least ten days off for these players. because a season which will have started on July 4 and which will end, I hope for us, on June 10, a break is needed but it should not be a handicap to collective performance.
Marco Verratti was captain, he is close to an extension until 2026. What can he do better in your eyes?
I can’t comment on the extension but I know that the club has this real desire to extend Marco. I believe he is very happy in Paris. It is an important element. God knows I prepared a lot of matches against him: he is elusive. It is important in our construction, in this ability to defend while advancing. I often say of him that he is like our fantastic three up front. We have an exceptional midfielder and in this respect he is for me the best in the world. When you have this privilege obviously you do everything to keep it. I ask him to be what he is: a natural leader, a player with great determination, someone who loves the game. He is also a partner, an exceptional teammate. And it shows every day in training sessions and in the preparation for matches.