Four days before the L1 debut, Jean-Marc Furlan spoke for about twenty minutes about his approach to the season on Wednesday, after morning training.
Compared to this Ligue 1 season, you are still very worried and stressed. You realize that we have a very low budget, so that’s how we’re going to be able… The recruits arrive very late since they won’t be there for the start of the championship. For a coach, it’s complicated. But what will be the most important is how we will finish the last ten weeks. And so how do you build a project like we did last season.
For the start of the season, while waiting for the end of the transfer window, can relying on the collective of recent years be a strength?
It’s true that you can rely on last year’s structure, but given the matches we’re going to play, between Lyon, Marseille and all that, it’s going to be a bit complicated (smile). But having said that, effectively, how are we able to have a very great solidarity and, in my role, in the daily training, how can I see the emergence of complementarities, pairs… But it will be a question of building a eleven month project. As we finished the play-offs very late, recruitment was complicated, so we have to plan to be very efficient over the last two or three months.
Find this Thursday August 4 a special notebook on the 2022-2023 season of the AJA in Ligue 1, in L’Yonne republicaine
Compared to the transfer window, you mainly expect reinforcements in attack…
In all the clubs in the world, those who cost the most are those who score goals. We are still waiting, we are waiting to move forward on recruits. Even if you know that there are only sixteen players who make 35 or 40 matches, according to the statistics, it is important in a championship much higher than Ligue 2 to add competition. For now, to be honest, there is none.
Are you going to keep the same playing philosophy with a team that likes to have possession of the ball?
There are certain matches where we risk not having the ball (laughs)?! But as Johan Cruyff said, I’m a fan, as I tell my players and I’m going to say it again: “If you take the ball in the 1st minute, give it back in the 95th, show your opponent what was the mark, at least you take a point?!” So it’s an absolute, it’s not true, it doesn’t exist. But at least if you manage to be able, all together, to have a big conservation, you will take fewer goals. There are also defensive values that I develop. But honestly, I don’t want to get rid of football. Now, you also have to have the players for it. That’s something else.
You are the man for climbs in L1, but it is also said that you do not know how to maintain yourself (see figure opposite)… Does that bother you?
I maintained myself once or twice with Troyes (once, in 2005-2006). They label me completely: uphill and downhill. You should know, and this is still somewhat the case this year, that I was each time in the last three budgets. As (Josep) Guardiola said: “I have friends who are in D2 or D3 in Spain and who are as strong as me. Except that I have the twenty best players in the world?!” In France, we like to give labels to people. That said, at my age (64), I really don’t give a fuck. You can write it. I’ve been training for 25 years, my life is made. That’s how I inspire young people, my players, how I want my team to play… That’s what motivates me above all.
Midfielder Rayan Raveloson to sign for AJA
To what extent will the direct confrontations, in the lower league, be important?
This is what we anticipate. But somewhere, football is so indecisive, that sometimes you can get points in matches that you did not suspect. So many factors come into play: fitness, dynamics… There are always surprises.
The season will be special because of the four descents and the long break in November-December. How do you apprehend it?
Four descents, good… As André Menaut said, our time is both economic and capitalist, that’s all. What are we doing?? We just want to protect the financial aspect of companies. We don’t look at social identity, how you seduce people… That’s why they’re going to do things like that. For the sport in general, it is regrettable. And there will be a two-month break. It can also be, somewhere, if you build yourself well, something interesting. At first, honestly, I was like, “What shit…” Now, in four or five weeks, I’ve transformed, saying to myself, “Go ahead, enjoy it, adapt.” How you find solutions so that after the truce, you are the best.
A huge craze was born thanks to the climb. How important can this be for home matches?
It can help us a lot. If we still manage to create this strength of identity, through our football, our game, through our audacity, our enthusiasm, our desire to show solidarity… Besides, that’s what I’m going to tell my players. What I would like is for our public to help us in home matches with joy, solidarity, to manage to leave four or five behind. Compared to what I have known in my life, this is the first time that I have experienced this in a club, this enthusiasm of the environment. As much as I had good times with the group, whether in Brest or Troyes, but not such enthusiasm around the club, by the people…
All the matches, all the compositions, all the goals: find the complete report of the preparation of the AJA season
An extension postponed
While he would have liked to negotiate a new contract over several seasons, Jean-Marc Furlan was offered to review his leaders at the truce. “I have confidence in this staff to perform well in L1. The timing is a bit short, so we prefer to focus 100% on preparing for the season”, explains Auxerre president James Zhou. “We’ll see you again in November-December,” confirms the Ajaist coach, under contract until the end of the season. “Well, I think if we’re 18th, I’m going to jump?!”
By Benoît Jacquelin and Julien Ben Bouali