The August uprising of a successful start to the championship brought smiles back to Lyon. Leader of Ligue 1 with 6 points, nine goals scored and zero conceded at the end of the first two days, OL had given itself all the assets to live a serene transition, all to its joy to have finally made the change as desired .
The return of Juninho, as sports director, had revived the flame of the good years, those of the domination of Lyon on French football. To replace Bruno Génésio, at the end of the race after three seasons and a half, the choice of the new coach by the old idol of Gerland, his compatriot Sylvinho, aroused curiosity and enthusiasm.
But, the atmosphere was somewhat darkened, before the opening on Tuesday, the European campaign, which offers the Lyonnais as the first opponent in the Champions League the Russians Zenith St. Petersburg.
It was enough for three games without success, between a defeat in Montpellier on August 27 (1-0) and a second consecutive draw in Amiens (2-2) on September 13, two weeks after that conceded against Bordeaux (1-1). ), so that the dynamics is reversed and that the first doubts are installed.
A coaching that questions
Neophyte as head coach, the former deputy of Roberto Mancini at Inter Milan, or the Brazilian coach Tite, has to prove itself. Although the events were not always favorable to Sylvinho (two evictions for example during the 3rd and 4th days), some of his first decisions question.
In Montpellier, following the red card collected by the left side Youssouf Koné, he chooses to pluck his midfield out Thiago Mendes and Lucas Tousart, to end the meeting with four attackers, complicated scheme without a minimum of control in the midfield .
At the reception of Bordeaux, four days later, he also does not find the solution after the premature exit of his midfielder, Thiago Mendes. Author of three goals in two games, Moussa Dembele for example never entered the field.
After the international truce, and two weeks without playing, the trip to Picardy was no more convincing. Quickly led to the score, OL had yet to react thanks to a doubled of … Dembele, holder this time. But after a second calamitous period, the Lyonnais saw the Amiens come back in extremis to the score.
The coaching of the Brazilian was once again astonished. While his players looked tired, shuffled in the second half, he waited for the 78th to make his first change.
A defensive doxa
Interviewed at a press conference, Sylvinho defended himself: "Our changes have been driven by injury or fatigue. Marcelo had cramps, Martin Terrier was tired and Jeff Queen-Adelaide was under threat of a second yellow card. After the two evictions of the previous days, I did not want to risk a third expulsion. We did not make the changes we wanted to make.
These explanations struggle to convince when we know that Reine-Adelaide was not notified until the 74th minute, that the defender Marcelo had his cramps only late and that it was already long minutes that the middle of Lyon field seemed to be worth it.
Informed of the recurring weaknesses of Lyon, Sylvinho – former offensive sidekick when he was a player – landed in the Rhone with an obsession: to find a defensive solidity. He insists as soon as he has the opportunity on his desire to cash in as few goals as possible and explained himself several times on the instructions, initially defensive, given to his side.
The Brazilian is a supporter of a defensive line of four players, almost immutable. Reassuring when everything smiles offensively, as against Monaco (3-0) or Angers (6-0), this doxa proves for the moment ineffective against teams that sometimes have a tendency to play together against one of the best teams of the championship.
"We are paid to play 90-minute matches"
Often criticized for their failing mental, Lyon players have not yet abandoned their old demons if we believe their new coach, whose speech sometimes has disturbing accents of the Génésio period: "We are paid to play matches of 90 minutes and not for 50 or 60 minutes. (…) It's a question of mentality to win. We lack character. "
In the Champions League, prestigious competition whose Lyonnais reached the round of 16 last season, motivation and desire to win should not be a problem. A poor performance at home would tarnish somewhat the European future of the club chaired by Jean-Michel Aulas in a dangerously balanced pool (Benfica Lisbon and RB Leipzig), where no team appears on paper or superior or inferior to the OL.
After only two and a half months of work, the Brazilian has certainly not been able to change everything in a snap. But Sylvinho knows that in Lyon, time may be running out faster than elsewhere. This is the lot of ambitious clubs.