PSG, semi-finalist of the 2020 edition, enter the field Thursday in the Champions League for a round of 16 first leg against Gornik Leczna, champion of Poland. A confrontation presented by Olivier Echouafni, coach of the Parisiennes, this Tuesday at a press conference. He announces without detour the objective of the season: “To go to the end”.
Can you give an update on the group?
OLIVIER ECHOUAFNI. Things are going pretty well, even for Formiga, which took a nasty blow (Editor’s note: a Thiney sole during the derby won 4-1 against the PFC). She did not take too badly in the end. We were a little worried about the ligament. But the MRI didn’t reveal anything too bad. Her knee remains swollen but she is traveling to Poland with us. For the rest, Luana (ankle) is still absent, as are Nadim and Bruun (Covid-19) and Grace Geyoro (suspended).
What do you know about this Gornik Leczna team?
Our main guide is Paulina Dudek (Editor’s note: central defender of PSG, Polish international). She gives us all the necessary information about this team. We made good inquiries. Our team manager has Polish origins too so that helps. We know that this team has won its championship and the cup, that it has six or seven Polish internationals. It’s a team that just won their Polish Cup 10-0 match last weekend. She played a preparation match in August against OL, lost by a fairly large score (9-0). It’s a first round. We must remain vigilant. The conditions will be cool, the ground maybe frozen … We have to pass this course and take the turn.
What speech do you make to your players a few months after the defeat in the semi-finals?
We have to get into the competition. We are happy to find her again with a desire to appear well. The goal is to go to the end. We all want to extend the current good momentum. Even if it’s a first round of the Champions League, you have to be at the same level as in the league.
Do you think you have crossed a milestone this season?
Against Issy (Editor’s note: 14-0 victory), we had a great game! When we look at Issy’s results against Bordeaux (3-1) or Montpellier (1-3), we see that they manage to hang these teams. We still scored 14 goals! Paris has a high level of confidence. The continuity was Lyon (1-0). We gained additional confidence and we managed to confirm this weekend against Paris FC (4-1). The girls did it remarkably well. We feel that there is pleasure, just like our goals. On that of Bachmann, we see a recovery of Baltimore of the head, pigeon wing of Marie (Katoto)… We love football for that.
These round of 16 mark the entry of the favorites. Are you worried about a trap match?
There are always doubts. You have to know how to question yourself. The climatic conditions remain unknown. The atmosphere remains to be discovered. Will it be favorable to our game? We know that the trap may be there. We have two games to qualify. Uncertainty is also the period. Usually, we enter the competition in September, here we are in December. The girls gave a lot, a lot. But they are ready for the challenge.
How do you find the girls physically?
They are mentally good already. It can act on the physical. The sequence of matches with wins provides a faster degree of recovery. We had PCR tests again this morning. I would have preferred to have my whole group. We also have the reinforcement of players from the U 19 group.
On a three-game week like this, are you cutting back on training?
We did a regeneration based session this morning. The period is special. We resumed the season on June 20. It has never happened so soon. We played four high intensity games this summer (Editor’s note: the Final 8 of the Champions League). There were also international breaks for a lot of players. We have a slightly smaller workforce compared to last season. We are twice as vigilant.
Can the context be the source of surprises, precisely?
Yes always. All the teams are making progress. A lot of things are in place around women’s football. This will be the last competition in this form. Next year, we will move into the group stage. We want to end by going far.
Would you be in favor of a return of Final 8 or Final 4 to conclude the competition?
I found Final 8 very interesting this summer, very intense too. So why not. But I’m not sure UEFA wants to spend on single knockout matches. In any case, I would sincerely prefer that the table not be drawn entirely from the quarter-finals. But let’s do as with the men with a full draw at each round.
Article original de: www.leparisien.fr