Stade Plabennecois, currently a resident of National 3, is preparing to challenge the Grenoble team (Ligue 2) on Saturday (6 p.m.) in the round of 16 of the Coupe de France. A meeting which obviously promises to be difficult as Nicolas Cloarec, the Finistère coach tells us.
You are going to face a professional team for the first time. What is the predominant feeling before this match?
We clearly have nothing to lose in this game. We are already very happy to have reached this stage of the competition. All the more so after the difficult summer that we experienced with a descent, the departure of the coach and also financial problems. The important thing was to build a workforce ready to take up the challenge of the National 3 and the Coupe de France to precisely erase the problems that we may have had. And now it’s up to Grenoble to come and seek his qualification and not the Stade Plabennecois to offer him.
“The championship rewards consistency and if we are currently 5th, it is because we have lacked it”
The players were certainly bruised. We still conceded 7 goals and it’s not the best way to prepare for an important match. So we rolled out this week with the aim of the players regaining confidence and regaining serenity. Today, we are ready and in optimal condition to perform.
How do you judge your start to the season in the league?
The results are quite mixed since we alternated between the good and the less good. The championship rewards consistency and if we are currently 5th, it is because we lacked it. I think we have often missed the step that would have allowed us to get back into the race to seek accession. We will try to fight on this second part of the season.
“If we are not all good at the same time, we will not pass”
You personally have a special history with the Coupe de France (winner as a player and quarter-finalist as a coach). What do you like about this competition?
Everything is played on a match and you have to be able to perform on D-Day whether against weaker or stronger than hierarchically. You have to find the resources deep within yourself to win the matches. This competition actually smiles on me rather well, but it would be dangerous to approach this meeting by taking yourself for the specialist. It is not by putting your buttocks on the bench that the tricks will happen by themselves. I try to prepare well for the matches in order to give the players the indications to perform.
You have surely observed your opponent to prepare for the meeting. On which weak point will you try to press?
It would be very pretentious to speak of a weak point for a team which plays in Ligue 2 and which has one of the best defenses in the championship. We will all have to perform very well together to achieve the feat. If we are not all good at the same time, we will not pass.
What would be the ideal course of the meeting?
Grenoble is a team that concedes few goals so we don’t expect to score a lot. We will have to be very vigilant about the balance of power and not concede the opener. Otherwise, it will be difficult to get back into the game, because they are well organized. So I see a very tight score, even a series of shots on goal.