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Ligue 1 – The management of Christophe Galtier facing the great challenge of PSG

The point of no return reached in his relationship with Julien Fournier, sports director of Nice, coupled with an adventure that will come to an end on the Côte d’Azur, would almost make him forget: everywhere he goes, Christophe Galtier is appreciated… at the less by its players. But this summer, the coach crowned champion of France with Lille in 2021 will change dimension, by joining a locker room that is certainly unique in France, and perhaps in Europe: that of PSG.

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Impossible, in this context, not to remember his words during his presentation in Nice last summer. “Going from the French champion to Nice, I obviously understand that it can challenge, but I know what I want, I know where I want to go, and I am convinced that it is the right project for what I want. do the rest of my career (…) When I took over from Alain Perrin, we saw where Saint-Etienne was and what we did together. In Lille, we were in a bad position to finish very high. Maybe I am this type of coach and not another”.

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Obviously, the native of Marseille has decided to prove that he could indeed be another. No longer start from “bottom” to finish high but, this time, start at the very top. Even beyond the sports results, the question that will fuel the debates in the coming weeks is very simple: does he have the shoulders to manage such a locker room? Before him, many are those who broke their teeth there. But even more numerous are those who have praised the merits of the Galtier method.

Christophe Galtier and the Lille players after their title of champion of France

Credit: Getty Images

He gave me the strength to rebel

If we had to list the pillars of the latter, the first would be, without taking too many risks, its strong relationship with its players. “I had the confidence of Christophe Galtier. There are not many who would have counted on me but he did, thanked Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang at the microphone of bein Sports in 2013. This is where people started to know me. I revolted. He gave me the strength to revolt and keep scoring goals.”

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Another striker pampered by the former defender, Burak Yilmaz, a major element of Lille’s coronation a year ago, had finished the Ligue 1 season with 16 goals despite periods of hole – first goal on the 5th day, no goal from November 8 to December 23 – and an injury that sidelined him between early January and mid-March.

“The coach has been helping and supporting me since I arrived.explained the Turkish striker to the press at the time. He knows what he wants and explains it to me very clearly. If he takes a step towards me, I run towards him. It’s thanks to this relationship that I was able to adapt more quickly.” So much so that the former Galatasaray player would have liked to follow Galtier to Nice last summer.

You feel that you can live a long time by his side

“He’s someone you’ll enjoy working with for three, four or five years. There are coaches, you work with them for two years, and it has to stop. But him, you feel that you can live a long time by his side, launched Dante on his side last March, on BFM Nice Côte d’Azur. His game system works because there is transmission of mental strength to his team. Everyone is concerned. He has this great quality of making attackers realize how important they are for defensive work.”

Involve a whole group, from starters to substitutes. Involving a whole eleven in the defensive task, from defenders to attackers. Galtier is also, and obviously, strong-willed and strong character. “It’s complicated to remember only one thing, but it would be his characterlaunched Benjamin André in front of the press during the reunion between Lille and Galtier last season. He has a temper and he transmits it to his players and his group. That’s what he did beyond the footballing characteristics. Our team was a bit like his character.”

He asked our opinion on everything and anything

A LOSC organized in 4-4-2, compact, with hard-working corridor players. But the defenders who worked under him will tell you: Galtier’s playing identity is not just about his solidity. “To be honest, what Christophe Galtier demands of a central defender in the construction of the game has me a little shaken up.confessed José Fonte in the columns of France Soccer. In 2018, when I arrived in Lille, I needed to adapt because I was coming out of eleven seasons in England”.

“The control he has over his game model… He knows what he wants, when it’s not working, why it’s not working, all within a second. is still quite remarkable… His system is not very defensive”, resumed Dante on his side.

The 55-year-old coach knows what he wants, of course. But also knows how to change, to adapt. And above all, show great humility. “He was the first to question himself, very few coaches would have done thattold Loïc Perrin, the former defender of ASSE, to The Team in 2012. Many of us have enjoyed it. He asked our opinion on everything and anything. We are a group that may need affection, he felt it. He changed his way of acting.”

Transpose everything to PSG…

His press conference after Nice’s defeat in Strasbourg in early December (3-0), at the heart of a complicated period (one victory in five matches), is the perfect illustration of the words of the ex-captain of the Greens. “I can’t blame a lack of physical effort on my playersreacted Galtier. I have to question myself on what I ask of the players. I am primarily responsible for what we no longer see in my game. Maybe I’m asking too much. Our game must be less readable”.

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A capacity for questioning which, if it always manifests itself publicly on the side of Paris, could turn into weakness, in a context which can quickly become hostile. Just as his relationships with his players and his grip on his groups can hardly be transposed as they are in front of superstars, who are not managed like young players to be shaped. All this without even talking about tactics and his preferential 4-4-2, inapplicable in Paris as it is. But all this, the person concerned, who has the intelligence to adapt to different contexts, knows it.

It remains to be seen how this locker room will welcome a coach with references who have never gone beyond the framework of France. Galtier has in any case started a very involuntary seduction operation several months ago already, by campaigning for the extension of Kylian Mbapé at PSG, or by regularly showing praise and class towards Paris, especially in the Champions League. He was then far from imagining what awaited him. And we are perhaps far from imagining what that could give.

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