First in the standings, impressive offensively, the Violets move on the lawn of Paris FC this Saturday in the skin of a favorite to climb to Ligue 1.
May 30, 2021. Return match of the Ligue 1 play-offs. Toulouse Football Club wins on the smallest of the marks at the Stade de la Beaujoire-Louis Fonteneau against Football Club de Nantes. But at the final whistle, the outpouring of joy comes from the ranks of Nantes. On the Toulouse side, the mines are crestfallen; it is the disappointment that prevails. Because despite its success, Téfécé – defeated 1-2 at home three days earlier – has just seen his dream of climbing slip through his fingers. The formation of the Pink City therefore remains in the second division. For just one more season? Its start of 2021-2022 is consistent with this.
SEE AS WELL – Nantes victory in Toulouse during the L1 play-offs
A largely reworked team …
After being so close to touching the goal, Toulouse had to vent the frustration. And re-mobilize. Quickly, Damien Comolli, who took over the presidency of the Toulouse club in the summer of 2020, believes that it is necessary to launch a new dynamic. Patrice Garande, whose results were successful but who had failed in his task, was ousted from the first days of June. Philippe Montanier, free after his departure from Standard de Liège, replace him on the bench of Violets.
The workforce is completely remodeled. Several major elements of the previous adventure go away. Manu Koné, bought by Borussia Mönchengladbach last January and loaned until the end of the season in Haute-Garonne, joins his new formation. Amine Adli, best Ligue 2 player in 2020-2021 and courted everywhere, chooses to follow in the footsteps of his great friend and join the Bundesliga, Bayer Leverkusen more precisely. Kelvin Amian, defensive captain from Toulouse, took over the management of La Spezia Calcio; just like his young teammate, the talented Janis Antiste. Full-backs Deiver Machado and Steven Moreira also left, respectively, to Racing Club de Lens and Columbus Crew, in MLS.
… with quality recruitment
It’s hard to lose so many good players in the offseason and hope to do better than the previous year. But Téfécé has resources and ideas. Its recruiting unit, headed by Brendan MacFarlane – a well-known former Brentford FC recruiter – relies heavily on advanced statistics to strengthen itself. The Violets have not hesitated since this strategy with the takeover of RedBird Capital Partners over minor or exotic league players. This is how Rasmus Nicolaisen (FC Midtjylland, Danish D1), Mikkel Desler (Haugesund, Norwegian D1), Ado Onaiwu (Yokohama F. Marinos, Japanese D1) or Denis Genreau (Macarthur FC, Australian D1) and Rafael Ratão ( Slovan Bratislava, Slovak D1) landed on the banks of the Garonne. A very organized recruitment, and which so far is bearing fruit. Damien Comolli was satisfied with it: “To give you an idea, from April to the end of August, we observed around 140 players, with a double ratio for each. […] We are talking about 300 games watched, 450 hours of video. For example, there were 17 right-backs, to get to Mikkel Desler who was our priority, 38 central defenders, 35 midfielders 35 attackers… They did a wonderful job, rejoiced the strong man of Téfécé in September. J‘ve always preferred to judge the mercatos on the long term, but today, a few hours after closing, I think we did a very good job.“
The important contribution of young people
But the Toulouse Football Club also relies, as it has for many years, on its training center. With the many departures, young people saw their responsibilities, such as Anthony Rouault, Moussa Diarra or even Nathan N’Goumou; others such as Tom Rapnouil, Mamady Bangré and Steve Mvoué are starting to make their mark. The association of the ardor of youth with the experience – and rigor – of the executives, which are the goalkeeper Maxime Dupé, the side Issiaga Sylla, the midfielders Branco van den Boomen, Brecht Dejaegere and Stijn Spierings as well as striker Rhys Healey, is working very well at the start of the season.
A great start to the season
At the dawn of the 13th day of the championship, Toulouse is the only leader in Ligue 2. After a poor performance against Ajaccio (2-2) for its entry into the competition, the Toulouse team has become almost intractable. In twelve matches, she has eight wins, three draws and only one defeat. With only nine goals conceded, his defense is pretty solid. But above all, his attack is fantastic, as illustrated by his broad successes against AS Nancy-Lorraine (0-4), Grenoble (4-1) or against AJ Auxerre (6-0). Téfécé has already found its way to the net twenty-eight times; or an average of 2.33 but scored per game. Philippe Montanier and his family therefore have all the cards in hand to get the climb, without going through the roadblocks. But before seeing life in pink, the Violets will have already got rid of, this Saturday (3 p.m.), a Paris FC with sharp fangs, motivated by the idea of putting an end to its bad patch.