Rather disappointing last year, OGC Nice is starting this season on an even less flattering basis. Left behind in the championship, mediocre in the game, the Aiglons are already amorphous and out of ideas. Like Lucien Favre, who seems particularly disappointed with the turn of events.
Boredom often invites itself when doing repetitive things, with few novelties, objectives. In Nice, it’s been barely a month since the championship resumed that the Aiglons already seem jaded to play. Still weak last Sunday in the defeat against Monaco (0-1), the Nice host this Thursday Cologne for their first Europa League Conference match. An extremely important match for Ineos, and therefore the club, looking for a first major European campaign in the 21ste century. However, nothing indicates that the men of Lucien Favre will transcend against the Germans. Sixteenth in the league, with only five points in the bag, the Gym have won only twice this season: against Lille last Wednesday (2-1) and against Maccabi Tel-Aviv during the C4 return shoot-off (2-0).
Favre: disappointing return
If the success against the Mastiffs could give a glimpse of an improvement, the last setback against the Monegasques rather showed that we will have to expect the level displayed against Maccabi. That is to say, very limited. Returning to the Côte d’Azur this summer to take over from Christophe Galtier, who left for Paris, Lucien Favre is experiencing all the difficulties in the world to convince his players, and perhaps even to convince himself of the relevance of the Ineos project. “As soon as there was Nice, I said to myself: “There, I do not hesitate.” It’s very interesting, what Ineos is doing, it’s an important project. It’s very nice to be here” , he explained, however, during his presentation at the end of June. He even aspired “to finish regularly in the top three, or even a little more” within two years. Suffice to say that these inclinations took the lead in the wing.
Already on the pitch, his players are not receptive to his philosophy. Monaco and the general apathy were the perfect example. “That one of the three attackers comes to offer behind the numbers 6? They had to come! Two were to come behind number 6 (opponents), but you have to stand out several times. You have to pretend to go forward, go back, etc. » , he cursed after the defeat against the Rock club. Moreover, this match perfectly sums up the gap between the coach, his group and even the leaders of Nice. Before the meeting, Ross Barkley was able to take a few steps on the field, to greet his new audience, when his arrival had just been made official. Obviously, Lucien Favre learned it at the same time as everyone else, and did not seem particularly convinced of his recruitment. “I was told it’s more of an 8” he said this Wednesday at a press conference, visibly uninterested in the profile of the former Chelsea.
Just as he was skeptical about the arrival of Aaron Ramsey, Favre does not seem to like his collaboration with Iain Moody, the club’s external adviser who arrived this summer after the departure of Julien Fournier, and who seems to be taking a little too much ” La Promenade des Anglais” literally. In short, the Swiss seems disappointed with the transfer window, disappointed with the management of the club, disappointed with his players and has been dragging his spleen for a few meetings now. The players, obviously not in phase with the requests of their coach, seem to have their morale down and are lost when they are on the meadow. If Favre started pressing during interviews, maybe they would too. In the meantime, the Gym could find some color in the event of victory against Cologne, still undefeated in the Bundesliga.
By Leo Peat