Not retained by Brest in 2016, Robin Le Normand imagined stopping everything before engaging with Real Sociedad on the advice of Eric Olhats who had spotted Antoine Griezmann in the past. For the 24-year-old Breton, it is a winning choice since he now holds the center of the defense of one of the best teams in La Liga, 2nd in the championship. Before the trip to Alavés, this Sunday (9 p.m.), he explains this success while talking about his ambitions.
After 11 days, the hierarchy is struggling to establish itself in La Liga in a league marked by the missteps of Barcelona or Real Madrid. What do you attribute it to?
ROBIN THE NORMAN. We are talking about a very homogeneous competition. I already had this feeling last season for my first season in La Liga. There is hardly ever a predetermined meeting. You have to tear yourself away to win, even when your name is Barcelona or Real Madrid. With the sequence of matches, a trip to the field of the last is not really a formality.
Obviously your club, 2nd in La Liga, manages to avoid these road trips. How do you explain it?
For two seasons now, the team has been working very hard. The group has changed little. We know each other perfectly and the results follow. There’s no hazard. David Silva’s reinforcement represents real added value. Afterwards, we don’t get carried away. Only 11 days have been played and some clubs also have late matches. It would be crazy and largely premature of me to say we are aiming for such and such a place. We’re just looking up.
What does David Silva, who arrived from Manchester City this summer, bring to you?
He’s won a lot of titles, but he’s a very humble person. In addition to his talent and experience, he makes his team better and communicates to us his culture of winning. There are quite a few players here who are 20 years old or less. He leads by example.
Last season, you were in the race for the Champions League before seeing your momentum held back by confinement. Have you learned the lessons?
Like everyone else, we had to adapt to an unprecedented situation linked to the pandemic. Some teams got there faster. In the end, we rank in 6th place synonymous with participation in the Europa League. It is very honorable.
Long considered the weak link, your defense, the second most airtight in La Liga, has become one of the strong points …
Credit goes to the whole team not just the defenders. The collective is concerned by the different tasks. The automatisms are refined. Everyone strips off for the other and knows how it works.
Seventeen players in the workforce have been trained at the club. Is this also one of the keys to your success?
It contributes in any case. It is in the DNA of the club, with a strong Basque identity and at the same time very family, to give pride of place to young people, to encourage their emergence and then to offer them their chance at the high level. When you spend so much time in the different categories with several players, strong bonds are created and it reflects positively on the whole group.
On a personal level, how do you cope with this nascent notoriety?
It is part of the job. I am satisfied with my progress and the confidence given by my leaders. I know how I got there. I am beginning to reap the fruits of my labor and the sacrifices made. I repeated exercises endlessly… I don’t focus on that either, but on what I can control. You have to know how to leave it all a bit out of the way. I remain myself, aware of having a good margin of improvement, of having to gain in particular in experience especially in my post. We’ll see how far I can go without setting any limits. I know where I’m from and it would be a mistake to feel settled. A starting position remains fragile. It only reflects the truth of the day.
2021 is a year marked by the final phase of the Euro. Is the France team clearly in the back of your mind?
The main thing is to get up every morning and tell yourself that you are going to improve. This is my guiding idea. Afterwards, you can dream of everything and put all your desire to achieve it. Like everyone else, I dream of the France team, lots of things, but all that can only come with work. Never let go, never. Success will not only come from my performances with Real Sociedad.
Article original de: www.leparisien.fr