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Ligue 2: “The climb?  I dare not think about it … », confides René Girard, the coach of Paris FC

After a 15-day cutoff due to the international break, Paris FC resumed the championship in the shoes of the leader of Ligue 2. If the large victory against Le Havre (3-0) offered René Girard and his men the first instead, the coach does not ignite when welcoming the last in the standings, Pau, this Saturday evening at the Charléty stadium.

After the successful victory against Le Havre and even if we are only approaching the 7th day, is the climb in the back of your mind?

RENE GIRARD. No, the road is long, the championship difficult. A dozen teams can go up and for the moment, everyone hooks everyone. But we have acquired a form of regularity and we must keep it. Let’s not ignite. We do not have the margin to play a game while running, and another while walking, like the great teams who have mastered their subject. My concern is that the boys don’t fall for it. We take the games as they come, I know it’s a boat formula, but I know too well that everything can go quickly on one side or the other.

René Girard, L2 champion, nine years after the L1 title with Montpellier, it would be rather chic …

The title, the climb, all that I dare not think about it … But I was champion once as a player with Nîmes in D2 (Editor’s note: in fact, in 1991, he ended up champion of group A but beaten in the final by Le Havre), so why not? After that, my experience and my age mean that we look at things differently, that nothing is ever won. I came to take up a challenge, not to play in the same garden as PSG (sic). But if we are already talking to you about building a competitive team, it is appreciable. In all modesty, I have known the very high level, if you want to be ambitious, you must not fall asleep and this is the message that I pass on to my group. I don’t know if there will be a good god, but that would be a great thing.

Does the prospect of this second game in a row at home against Pau, the only Ligue 2 team with zero wins, worry you?

Yes, there is a danger. We are first and all the teams we meet quickly find their motivation. Pau has nothing to lose, and they’re going to come over and bug us and do something. It’s up to us to be comfortable in our sneakers. We took advantage of the 15-day break to relax and empty ourselves a little. Now we have to refocus and remain vigilant.

After a complicated end of the season stopped by the Covid, you seem to have taken your marks this time. A form of maturity?

Maturity, I have had it for a long time (smile). Already the situation was not the same, we were in a delicate situation. Getting out of the mess we found ourselves in was not easy. When the Covid fell, at one point, we were going down. I did not find a bruised group but rather anxious to raise their heads. And he gave the correct answer. We are in continuity with a more homogeneous group today. We always went for something strong. We played snatch in the first matches and our game is a little more accomplished, more mature indeed.

And does this make it possible to attempt winning shots such as repositioning the Burkinabe international Jonathan Pitroipa as a defensive midfielder against Le Havre?

Pit ‘ is not a boy who is discovered. When we work with him every day, we have small pleasures, the conditions were right to give it a try, and it went well. We know he can be twirling sideways in attack, but today he has his subject matter under control. He has maturity, he brings serenity.

What do you think of the curfew measures imposed by the State, knowing that L2 begins at 7 p.m.?

It is not easy to find a happy medium. We had a physiotherapist, my assistant (Gérard Bernardet) positive. With this curfew, that’s an additional concern. For this Saturday, it should pass, but the camera will fall on us … Playing in the afternoon will be the best solution.

After the injury of Lamine Diaby Fadiga (unavailable 5 months), you tried to recruit at the very end of the transfer window Messin Gueye who could not be loaned again and then Soumaré whom Orleans refused to release. Is it a problem?

With Gueye, we had a lot of hopes … But neither he nor Soumaré could be done. Yes, it is penalizing because we are missing an attacker. We can “tinker” but it is not viable in the long term. We are considering taking a medical joker but we will not do anything.

Your midfielder Moustapha Name saw his suspension extended from 1 to 4 games after the call from Valenciennes. What is your feeling on this matter?

Today, we are in front of the CNOSF *. It falls on us, but what seems incomprehensible to me is that the League gives a match to a boy and that the FFF gives three more is the same as the Valencian aggressor. Apart from the lack that this causes us, I do not know if these people take the measure of their decision in relation to the little one. I found him in tears in the office. He does not understand what is happening to him: it’s a month without playing, it’s his job. Really, it is dearly paid and I hope there will be justice.

“It is good to work at Paris FC and the president is someone for whom you want to invest yourself”

Today, all the lights seem green at Paris FC …

We are in a peaceful club, but that does not mean without ambition, because what keeps me alive is the adrenaline, the desire to win. But yes, I’m good in my skin, good in this club because everyone works to the maximum for the interests of Paris FC. It’s good to work there and the president is someone you want to get involved in. This is the first of the successes. Obviously, we are first and it’s easier to talk about it. But here, people are telling each other things to move forward. We must perpetuate this spirit. The high level is a requirement. We do not say : I want to go up, and it will happen. We work.

Haven’t you always experienced such conditions?

I went to clubs like Nantes, where it was more of a war with the management. And the war, there is already the adversary to make it to you …

Don’t you miss the southern climate too much?

(Smile) If I’m feeling down, we’re three hours by TGV or an hour by plane, things are easy. As long as you travel before 9 p.m. now …

* CNOSF could propose reducing the suspension of Parisian Moustapha Name from four to two games.


PARIS FC – PAU, Saturday (7 p.m.), Charléty stadium (Paris 13th district). Referee: M. Kherradji.

Paris FC: Demarconnay – Belaud, Kanté, Ndiaye, Hanin – Mandouki (cap.), Martin, Pitroipa (or Abdi), Nomenjanary – Lopez, Laura. Entr. : R. Girard.

Pau: Olliero – Koffi, Batisse (cap.), Kamissoko, Sadzoute (or Scaramozzino) – Kouassi, Lobry – Assifuah, Bayard, Sabaly – Armand. Entr. : Tholot.

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