“I do this sport for this kind of emotion”

Alban, how do you feel on the eve of this match against Olympiakos for what is your first European Cup match?

I feel very good but also impatient to be on the pitch, to get down to business. It will be a very big game for us. A lot of players will also discover this competition. It’s definitely very exciting. It’s the kind of competition we’ve been waiting for since we were little. I do this sport to experience these kinds of emotions. It’s something big and exceptional, but you have to put that in parentheses. You have to focus on the match, on what you have to do well, on the technical aspects, not to disperse and not to arrive as tourists.

You are coming out of a confrontation against PSG, is it comparable with this match against Olympiakos?

We’ll see tomorrow (Thursday). I can’t say what will happen or what atmosphere there will be. What is certain is that our supporters are very warm at home. We want to return the favor by giving the maximum and making them proud of us.

Do you feel a particular expectation within the club, the city, or among your relatives in relation to this European meeting?

We felt it directly after the victory in the Coupe de France even if a new season is starting and all the counters are reset. I don’t think this final can help us for this European Cup campaign. But this event was expected by the club and the supporters. There is necessarily a big craze because it’s been twenty years since the club has known the European Cup. Of course we hear about it.

In terms of European experience, you lag behind Olympiakos. How do you plan to fix it?

A deficit compared to the European Cup, yes, but we have a lot of experienced players in the team who have many matches in Ligue 1 and we can rely on them. In a match, we will be eleven against eleven. We will try to fill this gap with these players, elements of experience on which we can count.

Are Olympiakos the favorite of this group?

Yes because this team was in pot 1. This team is used to playing European competitions. They have their own game system. We know what to expect even if it’s not a team we’re used to watching. We know some players playing there, like Valbuena, Hwang, M’Villa. There are experienced players, who play very good football. To be frank, I don’t necessarily watch the Greek league but we inevitably have an eye on Olympiakos when they play in the European Cup because they are a very exposed team.

“We have high ambitions”

What will be the priority against this Greek formation?

We are already going to try to be well organized first, not to go in all directions. But it is sure that at La Beaujoire, we like this fiery atmosphere where we sometimes manage to score three or four goals. With the group and the staff, we set a goal. We have high ambitions because we are competitors. We always want to go higher.

You feel serene, almost detached from the event…

It’s your point of view. You have to be focused. For the excitement, we will see after the match if we manage to achieve a good performance. Before, it is necessary to be well concentrated on the match, to prepare it well because it will be very complicated. We cannot disperse.

What does the dynamic of FC Nantes inspire in you before this return to the European Cup?

We had some good and some bad things at the start of the championship. The transfer window could also disperse us, could have an influence on the concentration. Now the group is established and we can focus on the technical aspects. Serious things begin.

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