“It’s easier to participate in a project when you win”

Foot Market: If you had been told that Bordeaux would have been 3rd at the September break, would you have believed it?

What’s after this announcement

David Guion: we always work to be as ranked as possible, but it’s true that, given all the ups and downs we encountered in the off-season and pre-season, we didn’t necessarily expect to be there. We have encountered a lot of dangers since the beginning of the season. But it also shows that it is always interesting to find opportunities to seize when you are in difficult times.

FM: After a chaotic season, how did you think about starting a new cycle?

CEO: very soon, we agreed with the management to leave with a new dressing room. This was what was important. We wanted to change mentality and recreate a mood around the training center and with the most experienced guys. But with an irreproachable mentality. Hence the signature of N’Simba and Barbet. Two former Bordelais whose exceptional level and mentality we knew. It corresponded to what we were looking for for the supervision of these young people. We also wanted to keep the boys with good room for progress. With administrative quirks, it was our first step. I quickly realized that I had to look for resources internally. I went to bring the players to the center in order to be able to make a coherent preparation.

FM: you were talking about renovating the changing rooms, you also renewed your staff. Was it necessary in your opinion?

CEO: it was my wish to leave with a new painting. Almost everything has changed. Only André Monteiro remained. I really wanted to involve someone with a lot of experience as a trainer as there are a lot of young people. And this post-training work is decisive with young people. Hence my choice to bring Denis Zanko (editor’s note: former manager of the Toulouse training center). Then, we reviewed our athletic training and our model. We started with a new performance manager. And at the goalkeeper level, we had a great opportunity to seize with Josep Pascual. I was able to select my staff to help supervise the entire group.

FM: What does Denis Zanko bring you?

CEO: already, he is very legitimate as a coach from his background. He had just been champion of France with Toulouse’s Under 17 team. We got to know each other a lot through our various internships at the DTN. We have known each other for a long time. I wanted that profile as he also has experience in Laval and Le Mans. He has filled in many boxes.

“We immediately realized that the boys adhered to our methodologies”

FM: How do you work when you are as unknown as you were during the summer?

CEO: we must create the conditions for success. It’s important. This happens through the competence and need of the staff we work with. So what’s crucial is that through this framework of requirements, players enjoy training. We immediately saw that the boys adhered to our methodologies. And then the footballer is smart enough to see that if he progresses, he is necessarily more appreciated. We have seen that in the first three months many have progressed. And I’m not just talking about young people, there are also Maja, Gregersen … But everything must be validated by the results. It is easier to participate when you win.

FM: you returned to L2 after your move in 2018, how do you judge this championship 4 years later?

CEO: I have the impression that this championship has become a little more technical. I have the feeling that, as in Ligue 1, the quality and competence of the staff are very important. This allows you to see meetings where there are real problems to solve. As in Ligue 1. At this level, it’s getting closer and closer. Here, there is no PSG, so all teams can fight. There is no easy game, there is always physical density and players who invest a lot. Tactically, there is progress. Subsequently, in Ligue 2, we find good players but there is no individual quality of Ligue 1.

FM: Since the start of the season, it seems like there have been two phases. A first in which you had access to the work on the defense, and for two games you have the feeling that the offensive animation is in progress …

CEO: let’s start with the basics. It is true that it was important to create a framework of discipline and rigor on the pitch with a game system that corresponded to the players present. And I only had three strikers available (Bakwa, Maja, Delaurier-Chaubet). A lot was asked of him. We know the importance of the team in offensive play, we had to trust guys who started at this level (Bokele and Ekomie). In our offensive animation, we were further behind. But it has allowed these players to gain experience. It also allowed a guy like Josh Maja to re-emerge. And now, for two games, I have the opportunity to run in front with Badji and Zuriko.

“We needed a structure behind to support our young people, hence the choice of Yoann Barbet”

FM: What were your thoughts on the market exactly?

CEO: we started knowing what we needed to achieve our goals. We wanted a consistent squad for Ligue 2. Compared to last year, regardless of the mood, we mainly needed two full-backs. N’Simba joined us for this. Clemente Michelin too. So, we needed a structure behind it to support our young people. Hence the choice of Yoann Barbet. Later, since we had kept Fransergio and Ignatenko, as well as the young Lacoux and Sissokho, we had what it takes to fill the different roles. We therefore had to focus on the attack, because we were in difficulty. As soon as it was possible, we really wanted an extra center forward and a lane player. Now we just have to work on complementarity to integrate them into the project.

FM: DNCG has limited Bordeaux’s transfer window. Ideally, were you hoping for other players?

CEO: yes, we could have had other recruits. The idea was to have an extra reinforcement or two. Now, in the meantime, our young people have done great things and given good signals. Compared to what they showed us, it would be a shame not to give it a chance. They grab it and stay in the group. It also allows the club not to invest in other players.

FM: With this workforce, do you think Bordeaux are able to reach their goals for the season (note: an increase in Ligue 1)?

CEO: it will be a very homogeneous Ligue 2. Until the last moment, we will play on a few things. It will be necessary to be spared from injuries, it is important to stay on top. We will have to be regular, because for this we will be rewarded. Afterwards, he had all his quirks since the beginning of the season. I’m talking about arbitrage and all. You have to be able to control it, that’s a lot. The idea with this group was to give these young people experience in the first phase. Now we will attack the second phase, namely to integrate our 5 recruits. We don’t sound the same when we have N’Simba and Michelin, compared to when we have Ekomie and Bokele. It is also different when you have Bakwa and Delaurier-Chaubet or Badji and Zuriko Davitashvili. We have until the truce to see how we will take matters into our own hands when we are complete.

FM: Will the workforce change during the transfer window or are you more looking to have this group until the end of the season?

CEO: honestly, at the moment, I’m waiting to see how the new ones fit in. Badji has not started again, Michelin too. Davitashvili only played once. The others only played two games and yet Barbet didn’t finish the last one. I need to see their performance status and how they fit into the game schedule, I like to look at what I already have in my group, then we’ll see what happens at the World Cup break. I’ll get back to the point.

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