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Interview. SM Caen. Yohan Eudeline: “We have quality everywhere”

The holidays will wait for Yohan Eudeline, who is fine-tuning the recruitment of SM Caen. ©Aline Chatel

It is with eight recruits that the Malherbe Caen Stadium prepared for his fourth consecutive season in Ligue 2. As the first day of the championship looms, Saturday July 30, 2022 in Nîmes, the sporting director Yohan Eudeline provides an update on the prospects and current transfer window files.

Before the first day of the championship, do you feel that you are as ready as you could have hoped?

You can never be ready on the first day. We all have a few question marks when we start the championship, it’s normal. Afterwards, it adjusts over the days. The strength we have today is that we carried out 90% of our recruitment early. We were able to carry out all the preparation with the entire squad. The negative point is that we have three suspended in the first match (Ali Abdi, Bilal Brahimi and Emmanuel Ntim, editor’s note).

What are your question marks?

These are the same as every season at this time. You have to have benchmarks. What the manager wants to put in place takes some time with the new players. The coach has a game plan and a life plan, which he has detailed to the players. The boys will have to get to know each other as quickly as possible.

More than half of the current group did not play in Caen or in the first team last season. Are you afraid that osmosis in the field will take longer to form?

Yes and no. Yes, because everyone has to be aware of what the coach wants, newcomers in particular. No, because we have smart boys who quickly understood what the coach wanted. We also kept a large part of our squad, who know the coach’s expectations very well. The markers are made naturally, the players discuss among themselves.

“The group is homogeneous”

The series of friendlies had started quite strong, the last matches seemed more difficult. Is this also your point of view?

No, I don’t agree with that. We had two, three good preparation matches to start. Afterwards, we played against two Ligue 1 teams. Against Nantes, we had heavy legs. There was a lot of fatigue. We found some gas against Rennes, we could have led 2-0 after half an hour. We paid dearly for the last five minutes (of the first half, editor’s note). Over the whole game, I think we were very consistent.

In the last match, we came across a team that was in the fight. You will have to prepare for this configuration. Even though it wasn’t a great game technically, we had to fight hard not to concede and be consistent again. The players have been. We are nearing the end of preparation. I think all the players will find some juice and go play a good game in Nîmes.

Is there a little more homogeneity but a little less big talent in this team following the departures you have recorded?

The group is homogeneous. In terms of departures, among the players who had a lot of playing time, we have Jo Lepenant and Rémy Riou, as well as Jessy Deminguet who wants to leave the club. We replaced Jessy with little (Bilal) Brahimi. We had to anticipate things. We have quality everywhere. We may still need to improve this group a little bit. We will see that quietly over the month of August.

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Is Jessy Deminguet’s dragging departure a thorn in your side?

No. Today, Jessy is with us. The president has been clear from the start: he can leave but you need a proposal related to the quality of the player. We are talking about a player who has five seasons with the pros, who scores between seven and ten goals each season, who gives between eight and twelve assists. Today, we have not received a proposal in line with its quality. There is no blockage. Unfortunately, we are not in the figures that the president wants.

He will not play in August even if he is still from Caen?

I do not know.

“Nuno, we don’t let go”

Can your start to the season affect the end of the transfer window?

We will be attentive to what is happening and to our start to the season, to see if we need to make any adjustments. Today, we are rather very happy with the group.

If the recruitment has been completed at 90%, there is still one player to come. An attacker…

We would like to have a different profile in attack. Today, we have Alex (Mendy), we have Sam (Essende), we have Norman (Bassette), we have Benj (Jeannot), we have Godson (Kyeremeh). We need another profile. We are working on it. Each player is going to be important and we will need everyone. But we saw last year that we needed people to exist in Ligue 2. That’s why we would like an additional player.

The situation of Nuno Da Costa (who does not play Nottingham Forest’s preparation matches, editor’s note) resembles that which was already his last season when he arrived…

We’ll see. We have a very good relationship with Nuno and with his entourage. He knows what to do. Now, there are things you can do and things you can’t do. You have to be careful. Will he find a solution with his club? Are we going to be able to come to an agreement? Does he want to play in Ligue 2? There are a lot of question marks. In any case, we do not let go. He knows very well that we want him to be with us.

Stéphane Moulin said: above all, no new beginnings. Did you give him guarantees?

In any case, we do everything for it. It is the will of the coach, it is also our will. We had recorded the departures of Jo Lepenant and Jessy Deminguet. We have players who are in demand, we do everything to keep them. They have to understand that we want to be ambitious, while showing a lot of humility. We aspire to progress compared to last year. If we separate from four, five players, it is not possible.

“Be strong until the truce”

Does this championship promise to be the toughest of recent years?

I think. When you have Saint-Etienne, Bordeaux, Le Havre, Caen, Metz, Guingamp, Paris FC and I forget some, you have a Ligue 1 bis. When I say that you have to be ambitious, you must above all be lucid. There are teams that can perform very well, we have to show a lot of humility to exist in this championship. We won’t be afraid of anyone, we’ll respect everyone, but we’ll try to go all out in this championship and be consistent. It’s a marathon.

The coach recently felt that he should not expect to monopolize the first places. How do you situate yourself between ambition and prudence?

The coach knows Ligue 2 very well, it’s a very difficult championship. I spent most of my playing career there. If all the ingredients are there, you can be part of the seven, eight teams that will fight. Otherwise, you can experience a galley season. We will watch out for our players, who are very well prepared, and try to be strong until the end of the World Cup. We must not forget to take into account this long truce which will take place for the first time. It will be a two-step championship. We will have to be efficient and not have all these worries that we can have during a season, as was the case at the start of last year. We solved the problem of late arrivals, since our players arrived very early.

Will the first match in Nîmes say a lot about this season?

(Adamant) No. I think we can take stock of our squad and our ability to have a good season after seven or eight days. It will above all be necessary to be constant, this season.

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