#Lovro #Majer #Genesio #coach #worked
It is true that many football experts in Croatia said at the time that going to Ligue 1 was perhaps the most difficult choice and the one that least suited my qualities, but not me, I have never been afraid. I knew that I needed a new challenge to discover new limits, to take new steps as a player, and Rennes quickly became the perfect club for that, in my opinion. Before I signed, I watched the team play, I knew that the coach liked to play, create things, play positive football, I also learned how the club worked with young players… I didn’t know much about the city, but I really felt that I could be the right project for me.
“The football we offer with Rennes is clearly the one I like to watch. »
His coach, Zlatko Dalić, opted for this option and considered, for his part, that going to Ligue 1 could make him mature tactically.
And he was right. The Croatian championship is a good championship, but the structures, be it pitches or stadiums, are not at the same level as in France. Another thing: in Croatia there are many players with a good technical level, but tactically and physically the championship is incomparable with Ligue 1. Today I am not the same player. I arrived at Rennes at the end of the summer transfer window, which is therefore about ten months, and I have made a lot of progress thanks to the club, the squad…
Seeing a Croatian player manage to adapt so quickly to a foreign championship has finally become quite rare. In recent years, we have seen many leave the country and then break their teeth. What made the difference in your case?
Many players think that their basic qualities and talent are enough, but from my first day in Rennes I knew that I was going to have to work even harder, but also smarter than before. Without a few small changes in my day job, I would never have been able to pull off a season like this.
What role did Bruno Genesio have in this development?
For me he is a great coach, probably the best I have worked with since the beginning of my career, really. He is someone who knows how to put you in the ideal conditions, in training and in games, and who has a very modern approach to the game, whether in attack or defense. I think a lot of players really enjoy working with him. The football we offer with Rennes is clearly the one I like to watch: lively, attractive football, with many goals… It’s just fun.
Specifically, what is your mission in the manager’s game project?
The project was not built around the qualities of one or two players, but really around the qualities of all the players in the group. My mission there is ultimately quite simple. When I say simple it is because he never told me: “Lovro, these are the ten things you absolutely must do. » It’s more like two or three precise instructions at a time, to ensure that the set remains consistent. He puts a lot of emphasis on running as one, pressing as one, attacking as one. Offensively, the coach also pushes us to express our creativity. He wants the wingers, the flag-bearers, everyone to be quite free, to combine quickly, to connect with one or two touches on the ball. He doesn’t let us do what we want, but he wants, thanks to the system, that everyone can express their ideas. Finally I do the same as when I was in Dinamo, but with more speed, more repetitions. He definitely forces you to think faster. An example: I think today I press more intelligently than before.
You completely blew up in the eyes of Ligue 1 during the game against Lyon (4-1) in November, where we had the feeling that you connected with your teammates as if you had already been playing with them for three or four seasons. Did you have that feeling too?
Yes, there was a sense of quick connection, of being in the club longer than I actually have been, but that’s easily explained. Both in football and in my private life, I am having the best time of my life. I’m happy, I feel very good physically, very good mentally. This match against Lyon was also in November, so I still couldn’t communicate very well with my teammates at that time. I had just played my first full game against Mura and they were really great. All the players have helped me from day one and have made things easier for me. Sportingly, it wasn’t easy right away either, because I injured my hip with the national team at the beginning of September. I was on the sidelines for a few weeks, but it also allowed me to take the time to adjust to the environment, and looking back today, it’s clear to me: this season couldn’t have been better.
“I’ve been to Saint-Malo, Mont-Saint-Michel… We haven’t been to Dinard yet, but it’s on our list. It is also the good side of this season: with my girlfriend, we feel very good in Brittany and it is a fundamental key to doing well. »
Were you able to take the time to discover the region a bit?
Of course. I’ve been to Saint-Malo, Mont-Saint-Michel… We haven’t been to Dinard yet, but it’s on our list. That is also the good side of this season: with my girlfriend, we feel very good in the region, the townspeople are very nice, there is a very positive atmosphere at all levels and that is a fundamental key to having a good performance. . This game against Lyon during the first part of the season helped launch this spiral fully. After that, I felt 100% integrated into the team, confident. A player needs to feel all that, see that he is at the level. It’s not just: I’m not afraid of anyone, that will do. » That day against Lyon I understood that I could express my qualities in Ligue 1 and that I had the level for Stade Rennes.
His good season has also helped him with the national team since he has chained several games since November.
(He cuts off.) As soon as I signed in Rennes, there was this instant change: I was immediately called, I had a few mandates, it followed quickly. This season is really unique at all levels and it started a long time ago because I played my first game on July 6, with Dinamo, in the Champions League. Before coming to Rennes, I played thirteen games in one summer, which is still quite big. There, I am in the national team until next week, so it will be almost a cycle of a year full of games. I don’t feel tired, I still feel physically fit, motivated… I’m just looking to progress, over and over again.
You faced the France team on Monday night, where you were able to see many Ligue 1 players again. Did you help the coach prepare for the match?
Not yet (laughs), but it was good to play against the France team. It was a good match, not very open, because both teams have been in the place for a long time. I got the impression that everyone first tried not to make mistakes. Tactically, I think it was a good match for both teams and, as usual, the final score (1-1) was quite fair.
In the national team, although you often enter the game, you do not have exactly the same role as in the club. What does Zlatko Dalić ask of you?
It is true that I play more on the right wing, it is not the position I occupy most often, but I still enjoy it. Then, as you say, I’m not a traditional winger, so I try to integrate as much as possible into the heart of the game, create numerical superiority, find fault with the opposing organization.
You play very close to Luka Modrić. Can you capture some details of his playing?
Luka is the best player in the history of the Balkans, he has already won almost everything, but he continues to dazzle on a day-to-day basis. That is mainly what I see: he is 36 years old, he arrives every morning motivated as if it were the first training session of his career, he is always at 100%. I try to learn from everyone, he has never been shy about asking other players questions, especially the more experienced ones. Luka didn’t necessarily advise me when I left Croatia, but I remember one day he told me to always enjoy football as a game, to always work my body as much as possible and that behind it, when you’re in this mood. , the results come automatically.
“Several things are written about my future, but the interest of other clubs, I take it for the moment only as a confirmation that I am doing things well. I’m happy in Rennes, I like the city, the club…”
You talk about taking care of your body. Until now, you have always been very punctual with sleep, food, you also work with a personal trainer…
(He smiles.) If one day I managed to get transferred to Rennes, it was precisely because I worked hard and always tried to train. For example, I know that I have always been a very technical player, very physically fit, but I have never been the fastest player. By dint of exercises, repetitions, I made progress at this point. Afterwards, I think that these last few months have made me grow and that I now work a little smarter. Pre-training, post-training, recovery, feeding, it’s all in the details, and if I had such a good season, I think I owe that to Thomas Choinard, the reindeer performance manager. His work with the players is really spectacular: he prepares the body as best as possible, and not in vain the squad has not suffered many injuries this season. If we put aside the injury I had when I arrived in France, I only missed one league game.
And did you put down your PlayStation controller or not?
(Laughter.) When I was younger, it’s true that I played a lot, I even did online tournaments in Croatia, but today it’s rarer, it’s not as crazy as before! Unfortunately, my teammates in Rennes play other games than me, so I usually play alone. Am obligationsbut the 2, an old one, and counterattack. they are rather fifa, rocket league Where covert operations.
In recent months, his name has been mentioned in various clubs. What do you see yourself doing?
For now, as I say, all good. I think I’m in a good moment, that I had a good first season in France, that things are going well with the national team, but that I can also progress in several areas. For example, I know that I still have to improve on my head game. Although I have scored three headed goals this season, which is still crazy for me, it was never my thing. I know that there are several things written about my future, but the interest of other clubs, I take it for the moment only as a confirmation that I am doing things well. Je suis heureux à Rennes, j’aime la ville, le club, je continue d’apprendre le français… Pour le moment, j’ai une ou deux leçons par semaine, mais encore une saison, et je pourrai encore mieux parler Language.
Interview of Maxime Brigand and Anna Carreau, in Split