After two months on the sidelines, OM's central defender made his comeback against Lyon. With the final run in well and truly on it's way, Julien Rodriguez states the necessity of losing no further points.
Eric Gerets has said that he wants his team to play like they did against Lyon all the time …
We know that when we play our best we can beat anyone, but we can also lose. The coach is right, we mustn’t get carried away and try and play the same match against Metz, it’s a whole new game which could be even more difficult than the one against Lyon.
Why will it be more difficult?
Metz have nothing left to lose, they will be playing without any pressure, while everyone see’s us as this great team after our victory over Lyon. On the pitch things will be totally different and if we don’t put in the same effort as we did against OL we could quite easily lose as Metz have a good team.
You are going from one extreme, OL the leaders, to another Metz who are firmly rooted to the foot of the table. How do you motivate yourselves?
To figure well in a League you have to beat everyone. We lost a lot of points against Toulouse or Sochaux. It’s up to us now to take the points that are there for the winning.
What will the game be like?
They know that they are going to be relegated and have been playing without pressure since the winter transfer window. In the last 10 games they have played really well. They are showing fighting spirit, have nothing to lose and that could cause us problems. They are a strong defensive block with a very defence minded midfield four. We will have to break down this wall and we have the players capable of doing that. At the same time we will have to be strong at the back.
Do you really think OM are capable of taking third place?
We really want to. And for the club it is stated objective. We need to finish in the top three to qualify for the Champions League. If we mess up our end of season things could become complicated as we’ve used up all our jokers.
The gap between you and Nancy, who play Lille, could be shortened this weekend...
There are only six games left so every point is important. But it’s not just because we have the chance to catch them up that we will finish above them. There are other matches to be played and we can’t allow ourselves to drop any points along the way, we’ve already dropped too many. We need to play at a champions rhythm if we want to finish third.
Do you need to win every game in order to achieve your objective?
Not necessarily as I don’t think Nancy will be able to go and beat Lille. They also have to go and play against Lyon, it’s not going to be easy for them. We have a difficult run in as well but we can talk about that in three or four games time.
You made your return against Lyon. How are you feeling?
I’m back. I put in a lot of physical work with Serge Conesa (assistant fitness coach) and Georges Gacon (fitness coach). I needed it to try and get back to my top level as quickly as possible. I worked really well and hopefully that will keep me in stead right up to the end of the season.
What type of injury did you have?
It was an ankle problem. It kept blocking and I had problems with my movement. I just have to deal with it. It’s better though. I hope it will be alright up to the end of the season. I don’t know if I need an operation, I’ll be talking to the doctor about it once the season is over.