Rudi Garcia, seductive and combative, leads the reconquest operation of OL

Rudi Garcia, during Lyon-Dijon, Saturday, October 19, 2019. Laurent Cipriani / AP

It is these emergencies where the level of requirement drops. Party to compete with the PSG early in the season, and failing to return to victory in eight games in a row in the league, the Olympique Lyonnais (17e Ligue 1 of 20), tries to reassure with statistics: in the last match against Dijon, Saturday, October 19, his players shot 24 times towards the opposite cage.

Since the beginning of the season, OL was engulfed in an almost psychorigid defensive rigor, imposed by his coach, the Brazilian Sylvinho. Certainly, despite this profusion of opportunities, no goal was scored against Dijon (0-0). But it is clear that this offensive momentum is concomitant to the arrival of Rudi Garcia, who succeeded October 14 in Sylvinho, thanked a week earlier.

While OL face Benfica in the Champions League, Wednesday, October 23 in Lisbon, the former coach of Olympique Marseille (OM) appears as the man who wants to hang on to the club Rhone, which has never been so ill since the beginning of the presidency of Jean-Michel Aulas, in 1987.

A cold welcome

The new coach has been appointed by the leaders of Lyon against the opinion of a majority of supporters, scalded by his conflict with rival Marseille, club he left before the summer after a season without result. They also reserved an icy welcome by whistling for his debut against Dijon.

It is especially for his ability to withstand this kind of pressure that this experienced coach, (700 directed matches) was chosen. After the match against Dijon, the ex-Marseillais did not parade: "We all prefer to be well received and appreciated. The bottom line is that the players have been backed the whole game. If this is not appropriate in terms of results or content, it is normal for the public to express their dissatisfaction. "

Read also Football: Rudi Garcia, to get Lyon out of the crisis

The main quality attributed to Rudi Garcia by those who have rubbed shoulders with him is his strength of character. A former footballer with a modest career, he did not wait for him to open the doors of a difficult job. Young assistant coach, then coach, in the amateur club Corbeil-Essonnes, he had to fight to win.

He first applied for the post of physical trainer at AS Saint-Etienne (ASSE), with one of his former coaches, Robert Nouzaret. His mentor, an old French football driver, says: "After a year, I realized he had other qualities and he could have greater responsibility. I made my first assistant from there. "

Major of his promotion in front of Deschamps

In January 2001, the crisis at ASSE propelled him to the controls in a duet with Jean-Guy Wallemme, who will turn short after twelve matches. That year, he obtained his coaching diploma by finishing a major in his promotion, in front of a certain Didier Deschamps.

To rebound, Rudi Garcia knocked at the door of Dijon, then in National, the third echelon of football. He manages to hoist the club in Ligue 2 at the end of its second season, which opens the doors of the elite in 2007, at Le Mans, young boarder of Ligue 1.

"He was intellectually above average, he already had a smart look at the game and specific ideas. Jean-Michel Vandamme, former sports director of LOSC

After a successful season, he gets noticed by Jean-Michel Vandamme, who blows his name to Lille leaders looking for a coach to take over from Claude Puel. "He was intellectually above average, he already had a smart look at the game and specific ideas," remember Jean-Michel Vandamme, former director of the LOSC training center, before becoming sporting director, then advisor to the president, and who knew Garcia while he began his playing career.

In the north, Rudi Garcia definitively launched his career and impressed Jean-Michel Vandamme during the quest for the French Cup-Championship double in 2011. "He had this ability to convince you that it was possible. I remember, during his talks he often said: "When we're going to lead 1-0, we'll do this and that." He said it with such confidence that you could say he thought he was another. Not at all, he was just convinced. "

It is, among other things, this strength of conviction and trust that the OL has, so much doubt has been embedded in the minds of players. "We chose it because we think it is the most capable of transmitting this energy to the players », defended Jean-Michel Aulas.

Discipline in the locker room

Rudi Garcia is also expected to bring discipline in the locker room and bring his culture of winning, as explained by the sports director Lyonnais, the Brazilian Juninho, who has no choice but to bet on the new coach after the failure of Sylvinho's recruitment.

Read also Ligue 1: why the Sylvinho experience came to an end at Olympique Lyonnais

"Compared to the first week of work of Rudi Garcia, the players responded present. Very good things have been seen. If we manage to put on such performances, we will be able to reverse the situation. ", Juninho pleaded before the match against Benfica. "I found a change. There is no photo. He brought a rigor that we had lost, also emphasized Jean-Michel Aulas.

"He always knew how to give me the best of myself on the field! He trusted me as much as I trusted him. The Ivorian Gervinho, who played under his orders at Le Mans, Lille and Rome

"Rudi's strength is his determination and the fact that he is not afraid of anything. There is not a challenge that he does not feel able to meetsays Vandamme. He is a pro, He will ignore the context because he is equipped for that. "

Rudi Garcia is also a master in the art of seduction. "Knowing the personality of Aulas, it must have pleased him to feel this motivation and desire to beat more prestigious competitors than him. "explains Robert Nouzaret. "Rudi has positive communication. We will not hide it, it is a little seductive », adds Jean-Michel Vandamme.

One of his favorite players, the Ivorian Gervinho, who knew him at Le Mans before following him to Lille and AS Roma, remains under the charm: "He always knew how to give me the best of myself on the field! He trusted me as much as I trusted him, asserts the attacker. In Lyon, he has all the ingredients to succeed. "

On Saturday, the controversial coach sent a first gesture to supporters Lyon. He took advantage of his first match to start the career of Rayan Cherki, 16, entered the game late in the game. The ovation of the public for the young prodigy, 100% gone, demonstrates his skill.

But Rudi Garcia knows, no seduction operation can replace victories. That's what he knew at OM, where, after two and a half years, no podium in the league and a lost Europa League final, he ended up getting back on the fans and losing his grip on the players.

Rudi Garcia's coaching career

Saint-Etienne (January 2001-June 2001). He co-directs the team with Jean-Guy Wallemme.

Dijon (2002-2007). Appointed in May 2002, he started the club in Ligue 2 during the 2003-2004 season. He played and lost in 2004 the semi-finals of the Coupe de France against Châteauroux.

Le Mans (2007-2008). Appointed in June 2007, he finished 9e of the Ligue 1 championship of France and semi-finalist of the Coupe de la Ligue.

Lille (2008-2013). He succeeds Claude Puel and in 2011, in his third season in Lille, lead the club to the title of champion of France, also winning the Coupe de France. That earned him to be voted best coach of the season. Lille will end 3e of the championship in 2012, then 6e in 2013.

AS Rome (2013-2016). Under his leadership, the Italian club reached the second place of the championship in 2014, for the first time since 2009-2010. The team is again vice-champion of Italy in 2015.

Marseille (2016-2019). Arrived in October 2016 with the new owner of OM, Franck Mc Court, he finished the season in fifth place in the championship, winning a ticket for the Europa League. The club Marseille will go to the final of the European competition in 2018, beaten by Atletico Madrid. But in the league, OM finishes 4e in 2018 and his participation in the Europa League the following season stops in the group stage (one draw and five defeats). In 2019, Marseille is eliminated in 32es final of the Coupe de France and finishes 5e of the championship, synonymous with non-participation in European competitions.


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