France Bleu Azur: Do you simply retain the qualification on the lawn of Cholet or the difficulties encountered by your team call out to you?
Jean-Pierre Rivère: I think the coach will look at the result of course, but also the content and work on it. We know it’s always complicated and difficult. It is the scent of the cup. What is important is to be on the next round.
The main thing is ensured with this qualification in the round of 16. Is this cut a real goal this season for you?
But it’s a goal every year you know! Even if until now we have not always had good results in the cups. We always aim to win all the matches, including those in the Coupe de France. So of course it’s still a goal every season and not this season in particular.
In Ligue 1 you are 4th before this last match of the year against Lens this Wednesday. Are you within the split times set at the start of the season?
There is no passage time. At the start of the season, we do not say to ourselves « we must be at such and such a place at the truce ». What is important is to be in the competition for the top of the table and to stay there until the end. That’s what’s important. So indeed, we have a first part of the season with positive things, things that are less so and I hope that the second part of the season will be full and complete so that we can effectively fight until the end to try to qualify for one of the European Cups.
How would you qualify these first six months of Christophe Galtier and his staff at the head of the team?
He’s doing a really good job. Afterwards, we know that there is still a long way to go. We have everything we need to get there and to be successful. If we can add a little success, it wouldn’t hurt us!
Do you have the impression that the team is progressing since the start of the season? It started off very strongly and we have the impression that in terms of the game and the results, it’s been more complicated in recent weeks …
Yes, we have sawtooth results that are difficult to understand. When we see the match we play in Rennes for example (2-1 victory), just after the one against Strasbourg (3-0 defeat), it’s incomparable! And I’m not even talking about the result but the performance. So, that’s why we have to make sure to improve and renew the good services as much as possible.
This last match against Lens on Wednesday at the Allianz Riviera, you hope for a general mobilization of supporters? There is this special operation with, in particular, tickets for one euro …
You know, we put in a lot of effort but we don’t often get rewarded. When I see that the match against Metz, where we had a series of very positive results and where we were aiming for second place, there were only 17,000 spectators at the stadium … It’s not easy in Nice. But we are working, we remain optimistic and we make sure that the supporters come to help us on Wednesday against Lens to get the three points.
Is it one of the major challenges of successfully filling the Allianz Riviera?
This is one of the very important issues because we know very well that with a stadium that grows, it’s still much easier than when you have a stadium that sounds a little hollow. I hope that one day we will manage to fill this stage, but it’s a challenge that is just as complicated as aiming for the top of the table.
The coming month of January rhymes with transfer window. Is the club going to move?
This January transfer window is very special, it is an adjustment transfer window. You know that I speak very little about the transfer window, but today we do not have the ambition to have an active transfer window in January. Afterwards, we can have a player or two called upon and at that point we will look and decide. But frankly, for the moment, we are not in a perspective of having movement.
The club has made a habit in recent seasons of preparing for the future by recruiting young players from the month of January … Are you working in this direction?
But it works on all profiles. Not just on young people. Did you see that this year we also brought executives into the team? It’s a global reflection, but once again, the winter transfer window is a special transfer window during which we are very rarely active.
In the direction of departures there are players who play relatively little. Do they have an exit voucher?
Honestly, I will not speak on the subject. And then, I can not predict what may happen during the transfer window. I have no information on this subject.
To return to the Coupe de France, your next opponent will be the winner of the Paris FC – OL match, a match abandoned last Friday after new incidents between supporters of the two teams … How to get rid of these incidents for good in French stadiums ?
This is a really big subject on which we are working, because it is becoming unbearable. Today, you are going to a stadium with your family, you are apprehensive about the result, of course, but you are also apprehensive about whether the match will go well. We are killing our football. So we have to find the solutions. They are not that simple. But they are essential to return to the stadium with pleasure and without risk. But here, our football is really in danger. So we have to be reactive, vigilant and we have to stop these incidents as quickly as possible.
Do you feel that all club presidents are on the same page? We sometimes have the impression that some are protecting their own interests …
Do not imagine for a single second that a president in the world or even in France rejoices over these incidents! Nobody wants that obviously. Afterwards, I recognize that at some point it will be necessary to raise the debate on this subject. We have been there and we have taken our responsibilities. We have to show solidarity, stop hitting on each other and be effective in ensuring that our audience can experience these matches with confidence. But sincerely I assure you that the solutions are not simple.