Eric Gerets warns. «After the team effort that we put in there, we can no longer allow ourselves to play half matches». Speaking about more than just the end of the season, he believes that,to make things better, we should follow the example of English football.
Eric Gerets’s message is as clear as spring water. The performance achieved against Lyon must become a benchmark. « After the team effort that we put in there, we can no longer allow ourselves to play half matches. The players showed what they are capable of. I’m demanding the same behaviour from them for the remaining games of the season. Anything else is unacceptable. If it happens I will be extremely severe ».
The coach carried on using English football as an example, the regularity of teams perfomance, the hard work and involvement.
« You just have to look at the Liverpool-Arsenal game in the Champions League.I could have kept on watching that game for 3 hours. It’s great to watch. You often ask yourself how can they play such an eye catching physical game without commiting fouls that warrant red cards … It’s a great advert for football. When I see games like that, I’m within my rights to ask more from my players ».
OM’s coach’s views cannot be contested. Not even his views that French football is way behind : « In France we’re behind on a mental and physical level. And I believe that if everyone, coaches, medical staff, fitness coaches and players put in a bit more effort it’s more than possible that we shorten this gap ».
« Nobody can tell me that it’s impossible to change peoples mentalities in France »
Eric Gerets didn’t stop there. He continued his line of thought by speaking of « a different mind set and culture of football. It’s not normal that the French players that go and play in England adapt and play the same physical style of football as the English, or run as much, etc… It’s the same for aplayer like Dick Kuyt who was a good player in Holland, but not a world class player, but who today is of great importance to the Liverpool team. It’s really unbelievable.
Nobody can tell me that it’s impossible to change peoples mentalities in France, and that we cannot put out teams with the sam mental and physical presence on the field, if we prepare well and use the right methods ».
Especially as the coach points out, « in Marseille we have a huge advantage. Marseille lives for football, everyone talks about it. I like cycling, I’d love to talk about it but nobody gives a damn about it in Marseille (laughs). We should profit from that ».
The coach tells us of his plans to « bring in the best specialists from universities, who will tell him the best way to prepare the players so they are at their peak for the start of the League next season.
I have my experience as a coach and a player for the physical preparation of a team but methods have evolved. Lots of people contact the universities, studies have been done in order to become more professional ».
« I want players who are going to give everything and a bit more in order to be champions next season »
« I’m 90% happy », he says. « But to make up that 10%, it’s up to me to get more out of the squad next season. That’s what I am paid for.
(…) We haven’t had a lot of games where we have failed on a mental level, but there were some. Games where that English spirit, or Musketeer spirit if you want, was missing. You cannot win a League without being top in all departments.
I’d love to be champion with OM. Nothing is better than being the best team in your country at the end of the season. I want players who are going to give everything and a bit more in order to be champions next season ».
Eric Gerets finishes up by saying : « There is still a lot to be done in French football. Some say there is more money in England, especially with the TV rights. That they can buy the best players. But as far as I’m concerned we have to start by changing the things that we can in order to be stronger. Afterwards we can see where other things can be changed ».