Gourvennec (Lille), opposed to Chelsea in the knockout stages of the Champions League: « A magnificent poster »
The French champion could hardly inherit a more complicated draw. Lille will go to London to compete in the round of 16 of the Champions League against reigning European champion Chelsea, against whom he broke his teeth two seasons ago in the group stage (1-2, 1- 2). But the hour was rather this Monday to the joy of receiving the Blues in Pierre-Mauroy in a stadium expected armored in March.
« It’s a magnificent print, recognizes Jocelyn Gourvennec, the trainer. We knew that the noose was tightening for the round of 16 and that we were going to face an opponent of great caliber. It will be a very nice poster. Obviously, it’s a very difficult double confrontation. There are four periods to play and the idea is to preserve our chances at the end of the first leg, in order to play very big on the return with 50,000 people pushing. «
« The history of sport shows that sometimes outsiders come out of the woods »
In view of the Lille game and the difficulties of returning to the top 5 in Ligue 1, is this an impossible mission for the LOSC? Not for his coach. « The history of sport shows that sometimes outsiders come out of the woods, he said. Nobody expected us this season first of the group. There, the step is very high. We want to shake up the hierarchy. «
By mid-February and the journey under the Channel, the month of January and its transfer window will tell if all the forces have remained in Camphin-en-Pévèle to experience this prestigious competition together. “Our idea has not changed, says Olivier Létang, the president. It is to keep our strengths alive and the competitiveness of our workforce. I am very proud of this draw for our community. The squad hasn’t changed much compared to two seasons ago. However, experience cannot be bought. We saw in this final phase this season that our group had more experience. This can give us momentum within two months to maintain a good momentum and get to the knockout stages, against a prestigious opponent, with our values and our virtues. «
For Jocelyn Gourvennec, who still does not understand why PSG had separated from Thomas Tuchel last winter, this meeting could even cement his group a little more. “Some will ask themselves the question of living it here, wondering when they will relive this kind of experience. I had played a Champions League semi-final at 24 (with Nantes against Juventus Turin). I never played it again afterwards. It can energize us. We found colors. We are more constant. We have to cultivate that. «