“I am sometimes nicknamed the firefighter on duty”: Nikola Matijasevic succeeds in his first with Paris Volley

Show, atmosphere and suspense until the end of a stunning tie-break! The Ile-de-France derby kept all its promises on Friday evening. In an incandescent Charpy room – thanks in particular to the presence of around forty Plessis-Robinson supporters – Paris Volley dismissed 2 match points before winning at the end of a long fight of almost 2h30 of play and 5 rounds played (21-25, 25-23, 25-18, 23-25, 20-18) during the always heated Paris region derby.

“This victory has a special taste, savors the passer and captain Kellian Motta Paes. We were led and mishandled in the tie-break but we got through it thanks to the exploits of Kento (Miyaura, author of 29 points, 3 aces, 3 blocks) and our collective rigor. It’s been a while since we’ve seen that, a united team that never gave up. »

A change of attitude which already bears the mark of the new Parisian coach. In distress for several weeks and close to the relegation zone, Paris Volley (5 defeats in a row, 3 points out of 21 during the last 7 days) parted ways in the middle of the week with its novice coach – the Italian Fabio Storti – to recruit the experienced and demanding Nikola Matijasevic. Arriving on Wednesday, the Franco-Serb only had time to attend a cleaning session, do training and a video session. But his pre-match speech lasted a little over half an hour, “a record length” smiles the person concerned. The goal was not to make a tactical revolution but to reassure and restore confidence to the players.

“We need a “dad”, a demanding coach, who knows where he’s going”

“Changing coaches during the season is never easy,” underlines Yannick Bazin, the Parisian general manager, “but the flow no longer passed between the players and the coach. We had to do something. This caused an electric shock. There was a reaction, commitment, which we hadn’t seen for a while. We didn’t look like anything in our last matches. Everything is not perfect but we saw a team. We will try to move forward with a coach that everyone knows. »

The former international smuggler had the 70-year-old Franco-Serbian wizard as a coach at Chaumont and knows him well. “We need a “dad”, a demanding coach, who knows where he is going and who the players listen to, continues Bazin. He has charisma. But the championship is still long. » “His management is different, he brings us his experience and his serenity, above all he wanted to restore confidence in each player, he took the time to speak with everyone,” says Kellian Motta Paes.

To come to the club’s bedside, the coach did not hesitate to come out of a deserved retirement which began in Belgrade this summer. “The discussions were very quick but we do not have the right to refuse Paris Volleyball,” he insists. Although he has never coached Paris, he knows this “emblematic club” and the city well. His son George, a key player in volleyball with his agency LZ Sports, was behind the rescue of the club in 2018 and lived in Paris for a long time, and his daughter Ana lives in the capital with her companion Nikola Kovačević… player at Paris Volley .

“I am sometimes nicknamed the fireman on duty because I have already arrived during the season at a club – at PAOK Salonika, in Cannes or at Red Star Belgrade last year – but that does not bother me, on the contrary, it’s a noble profession,” smiles Nikola Matijasevic with one of his 5 grandchildren in his arms.

“I came to try to improve things as much as possible,” continues the person concerned. There is improvement on the mental level. We are down 10-5 in the tie-break then 13-10 and 14-12, I was told that two or three weeks ago they would not have won. It proves that the players want to fight. They believed in themselves. We can also thank our point guard (Japanese Kento Miyaura) who scored all the points at the end. If we can get to the playoffs that would be good but there is still a lot of work to do. Until October, I didn’t miss the terrain but I needed adrenaline. » With his baptism of fire, he was served.

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