Comforted by the Lyon management despite historically weak results, the Dutch coach will no longer have the right to make mistakes.
Peter Bosz in Lyon, act II. At the end of a failed domestic exercise in large widths (8e in the standings), the Dutch technician is starting his second Ligue 1 campaign with Olympique Lyonnais. With obviously increased pressure. “We have the ambition to make a special season“, was content to promise the 58-year-old manager at the beginning of July when OL took over, of which he therefore remains the coach on the starting line this Friday against Ajaccio (9 p.m.), at the start of the Ligue 1 season. .
A maintenance almost like a miracle for the former coach of Ajax and Leverkusen, already particularly threatened halfway through last season, when his team vegetated in the second half of the table. “Normally I would have been fired from the results being 13e in a club that wants to play the Champions League“, agreed Bosz, with the lucidity however variable during a season where his team will have (too) often done things upside down.
Only here, Jean-Michel Aulas showed an almost unsuspected patience as the season, however already agitated behind the scenes (departure of Juninho in December), paraded. After demanding a recovery in December (“I leave us the two months of January and February to return to the championship“), the boss of OL softened his position at the beginning of March (“He’s not in danger at all, no matter what.“) before considering the continuation with the Batavian coach, subject to the approval of future investors, as he declared in mid-May, once the failed season was definitively recorded: “The least we can do is make them confirm the trend, which is to define the criteria for choosing the coach for the coming years. (…) I think it would be a mistake to change.And John Textor, the club’s new majority shareholder, therefore agreed.
Start of the season already decisive?
Comforted despite OL’s lowest points total in the 21ste century (61 pts, off season 2019-2020 interrupted by the Covid-19), Bosz cannot hide additional pressure with the arrival in the capital of the ambitious American who dreams of upsetting the domination of PSG. “It’s not pressure, it’s a challengeinsisted the interested party at the start of the school year. I only see the positive sides, the pressure is there but it is good for me, also for the players and the supporters.»
The latter will obviously be less docile with a first poor performance at Groupama Stadium this Friday, not to mention a possible missed month of August in line with the last exercise. On social networks, the Lyon community even mentions a faultless (15 pts / 15) almost obligatory with regard to the first five meetings of the season (Ajaccio, Lorient, Troyes, Reims, Auxerre). “Coach knows himself on an ejection seat in case of poor results in August”, advances on this subject The Team in its Saturday edition.
Whatever, Bosz advances in this first season of OL made in america with a confident smile that he never lost. A confidence certainly at the origin of that of its president (Aulas retains its prerogatives for at least three years), with whom he seems to share a real human relationship, and whose patience sounds anachronistic in view of the permanent musical chairs of current football. and the standing of a club which will not play Europe for only the third time since the beginning of the 2000s (elimination in the Europa League play-offs in 2014, end of the season linked to the Covid in 2020).
Taming the “return to OL DNA”
Obviously, the justice of the peace will be Ligue 1 for those who partly owe their maintenance… to their European campaign last year. Eliminated in the quarterfinals of C3 by West Ham, the Rhone coach had long maintained the hope of great happiness shaped in the middle of the week, where OL often shone, as if boosted by a “European DNA”. Lyon’s DNA is precisely what punctuated the club’s off-season. The announcements of “JMA” were translated by the great returns of the children of the club Alexandre Lacazette (Arsenal, 31 years old) and Corentin Tolisso (Bayern, 28 years old), wanted to supervise the new generation of Gones (Caqueret, Lukeba, Gusto, Sherki).
Bosz, who has only been there for a year, got in tune, notably taking the decision to entrust the captain’s armband to Lacazette, with whom tactical differences were loaned before being denied. Unity as a watchword. And this return with great fanfare of the values and love of the club will allow him to orchestrate a team not only according to a system (most often in 4-3-3) but according to a philosophy, instilled from the first years at the training center. “Tactically, we have new players but the philosophy remains the same: winning with an attractive game“, he still promised a month ago.
The lessons learned from the last warm-up match against Inter Milan (2-2) suggest that OL are on the right track, between willingness to lose the ball and rapid and well-orchestrated use. But the truths of July do not always find an extension in August, and Bosz could end up learning it the hard way. Lyon will not be able to take the risk of watching Europe on TV for a second year in a row.