The Stade Rennais delegation arrived a good hour late in Spain on Wednesday, the fault of a check by the General Directorate of Civil Aviation which kept the Bretons’ plane on the ground longer than expected. “It’s simply a small setback, it happens, an unexpected check of the device… We lost a little time but it’s not very serious,” tempered Bruno Genesio, on the eve of face Villarreal (Thursday at 9 p.m.). At a press conference, the red and black coach showed his confidence by returning to a Ceramic stadium where he had won, in 2018, with OL (1-0), an evening when Amine Gouiri remained on the bench.
“A great week is coming with Villarreal then PSG. Is this an opportunity to take a new step?
We’ve already started this week well with the derby (victory against Nantes 3-1, last Sunday), it was important to win, we got on with it, especially in the first half. Now, we have two matches which will allow us to evaluate ourselves against two very good teams, tomorrow (Thursday) and against PSG (Sunday, 8:45 p.m.), which is also one of the best teams in Europe.
The group favorite missed his first match (defeat to Panathinaikos 2-0, September 21). Is there any way to score a big hit?
Yes, in case of very good results. I think it will take at least ten points to get out of this group. We are facing a team that is used to European games, which won the Europa League and was a semi-finalist in the Champions League not so long ago. We know that it will be a very tough opposition. With Amine (Gouiri), we had the opportunity to come with OL a few years ago, and it was very, very hard. We know what to expect, but we are fully equipped, confident in our strengths. We are going to play this match without a second thought.
How will you handle players who may express frustration?
Yes, there will be overall management of my workforce. I say it and I repeat it, we need a strong group to play on all fronts. We have the opportunity tomorrow (Thursday) and Sunday to give several players the chance, I won’t deprive myself of it. We are the L1 team that scores the most with players coming off the bench. It shows that there is quantity and quality in my squad, and that there is a good state of mind. As long as there is that, we can be ambitious and dream of very good things. If we lose it a little, we will be in trouble. I am the guarantor of that, those who put themselves outside the group will stay outside the group.
Are you ambitious given the situation of Villarreal (13th in La Liga)?
It would be a mistake to think so. They are in difficulty in the Championship but they are two completely different competitions. Some use the European Cup to find positive dynamics, we see it with a French team. Villarreal is a typically Spanish team, experienced, but we come here to play our game, away and at home. Sometimes the opponent forces us to do things differently, we will adapt if necessary. Villarreal’s history is linked to the European Cup. We are very respectful of this opponent, who is not in the Championship for different reasons. It remains a dangerous, very experienced team. We are confident, cautious too.
Are you working to relax your group in relation to the European Cup?
This is very important, the recent results of French clubs in the European Cup must give us even more strength and confidence, not arrogance and contempt, but this confidence which characterizes many foreign teams in Europe . We must take inspiration from that. The example of Lens (2-1 winner over Arsenal on Tuesday) should give us even more strength. To approach matches with overconfidence, but with our strength. But it also sometimes comes from the whole climate around French clubs. And you (the media) contribute greatly to this. »
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