At OL Park,
The king of decisive two-touch actions within six meters is him. Alexandre Lacazette put in a pure goalscoring performance this Sunday at Décines to defeat Toulouse Football Club (3-0). Three times on set pieces (25th, 29th and 80th), the Lyon striker carried out unstoppable checks and recoveries at full speed in mini-spaces, with maximum consequences in the ranking. Because yes, for the first time in ages, the still bottom of Ligue 1 really has the first non-relegation player (its opponent of the day) in its sights, who is only three lengths behind. A few figures quickly show the extent to which this great success is anything but anecdotal: OL had not won a home match for 196 days (3-0 against Reims last May), and this is only their second victory this season.
The symbolism is all the stronger as the detonator of the day, suddenly full of confidence, had not scored since a double against Lorient (3-3) two months earlier. How can we explain such a collective and individual metamorphosis compared to the absolute nothingness observed for Alexandre Lacazette’s Olympique Lyonnais four days earlier in Marseille (3-0)?
“I will always give everything for the club”
“These last two months, I was mainly saddened by the fact that we lost rather than by the fact that I did not score,” summarizes the hero of the day. People who know me know very well that I love this club and that I will always give everything for it. The times when it doesn’t work for me, that doesn’t mean I’ve given up. My mission is still there. » Alexandre Lacazette has indeed sent a resounding response to his detractors, and it is difficult to see how OL could afford to part ways with him during the next transfer window, if they really intend to avoid Ligue 2.
“A lot of things have been said about Alex but no one has ever doubted him in the squad,” assures Maxence Caqueret, also found in the midfield. He is our captain, he is our leader. » His rage displayed after each claw strike this Sunday was reminiscent of his incredible quadruplet last spring, to overthrow Montpellier in the final moments (from 1-4 to 5-4). Light years away from his starving record so far this season (3 goals in 11 games, a worse ratio than… Jake O’Brien).
“It’s nice to feel loved”
“It’s a relief to be able to score, to be useful to the team as is expected of me,” summarizes the former Arsenal captain, upon receiving a friendly pat from Sidney Govou in the middle of an interview . If he indicates that he “felt a lot of confidence from [ses] partners”, Alexandre Lacazette quickly mentioned the importance of interim coach Pierre Sage in his spectacular rebound of the day. Not without slipping a stray ball towards Fabio Grosso in the process…
“I was finally able to have an exchange with my coach,” he confides subtly. He talked to me a lot this week and showed me his confidence. Even though it had been a while since I had scored, he told me that he was still quite satisfied with my role in the game. I think that showed in all the matches with him: j I tried to participate more in the game as he asked me to. Pierre has clear instructions and a fairly positive message with us. Even if we’re in this situation, it’s nice to feel loved. »
Pierre Sage’s paying 5-2-3
After two defeats in Lens (3-2) and Marseille (3-0), Pierre Sage has unlocked his points counter, while the names of Jorge Sampaoli and Bruno Genesio come back insistently to replace him on the Lyon bench . We quickly grasp the connection he established with his captain: “We talked about lots of things with Alexandre, and that perhaps proved to him the honesty of my words and our relationship. He is considered a role model by his young partners. He had an extraordinary last season [27 buts en Ligue 1] and it was not going in the right direction. He shows everyone that he is still a great scorer, and this match highlights all his mischief, all his intelligence.”
Much more coherent in the game, with a 5-2-3 as in the second period at the Vélodrome, and very effective on set pieces, the OL version of Pierre Sage ultimately does not have the face of a potential convict at Ligue 2 on what he showed this Sunday. And Maxence Caqueret is keen to praise the impact of the usual director of the club’s training center, to whom the whole group headed after Alexandre Lacazette’s third goal.
“We are aware of not doing the right thing on the ground”
“No, it was perhaps not a message sent to management,” smiled the Lyon midfielder. But it’s certain that we all appreciate the coach. He does a very good job, he has this role of messenger which is super important and everyone understands that. He is a strength and we wholeheartedly support him. Tactically, he has a lot of thought. The system was useful: we were often one more player on the sides. ” This love story between the group and Pierre Sage, who contrasts with the coldness of the Fabio Grosso era, therefore experienced his “little bubble of happiness” facing a sick TFC (15th), as the interim coach put it. But everyone is (fortunately) aware that nothing is being done to get out of this crisis in the long term, and that the last two matches of the year (in Monaco and against Nantes) will be “essential”.
We are still in the same position: we must move forward little by little and above all remain humble, insists Alexandre Lacazette. A trigger success? I hope so but it’s hard to say. After Lens, we were quite in the game, and bam, behind we lost. Until the end, we will have to fight, work and believe in it. We have to put the club back where it should be. We are aware of not doing the right thing on the ground. »
Aulas and Textor in an unexpected rapprochement?
Anthony Lopes, who repelled a penalty that he himself (stupidly) conceded (at 2-0 in the 45th + 2), adds to Canal + Sport: “We all needed this victory, the players, the management, the employees who depend on us a lot, and especially the supporters who support us until the end. This situation is tough but you need guys up to the task to get through it.” Firstly “Alexander the Great”, as the LFP nicknamed him on social networks, without us knowing if this visual had been on standby in its drafts for two months.
And if ultimately, the greatest miracle caused by the “Ave Maria” tifo from the north turn of Parc OL in this week of the Festival of Lights was neither Alexandre Lacazette’s hat-trick, nor this great Lyon success, but the unexpected rapprochement between Jean-Michel Aulas and John Textor behind the scenes? “Before the match, we saw them return to the locker room together,” says the Lyon captain. To be honest, it was nice to see that everyone was there to support us. » OL you need is love…