Juan Cruz Mallia (Toulouse): “I know that we will once again become the Toulouse that everyone knows”
The Puma returns to the benefits of the internship in Soustons, after the six setbacks in the Top 14, and is convinced that the rebound is close.
After the match in Pau, you went on stage for three days in Soustons. Accordingly do you need?
Yes, I believe so. it can help the whole group. What we needed was to spend two or three days together, to discuss the situation, to do our introspection. I’m talking about collective but also personal introspection to understand and feel better. Not only the players, but also the staff and the whole club.
Was the content of the stadium more human than sporting?
No, it was two-pronged. It’s true, we talked about the current context and a lot of things. We did other activities, like the Olympic Games. But we also analyzed videos and we worked. It was a real mix.
How do you explain your six defeats in a row in the Top 14?
There are many reasons. Having such a losing streak is not common at this club. Attention, nothing can justify all these setbacks and what I am about to tell you is not an excuse…
First, there were all these reports because of the Covid. Four times, we prepared and couldn’t play… For two months, we had very few matches. Mentally it was hard, we lost momentum there and we couldn’t find our rhythm. Then there were these meetings, like in Clermont or against Racing, where we are neck and neck, where we have the opportunity to win, and which escape us at the finish. Behind that, many important players left for the France team. Some think, then leave… All this destabilized us but, I repeat, these are explanations, in no way excuses.
What is the watchword today?
We need to regain trust, rebuild it. I believe a lot in this group, in this team, in this staff. The solution is in the work, in the fact of focusing on what we have to do on the ground. We must have only one thing in mind: to win.
In Pau too, fifteen against thirteen and five points behind seventeen minutes from the end, you prefer the opportunity to win…
It was a strange game, hard for us first. Then there were the two red cards, including this terrible tackle on “Santi” (Chocobares, editor’s note) who collapsed on the ground. Had the chances but you have to convert them into points, have a clearer mind to make the right decisions, do the right thing. This is what we must now aim for.
You were afraid for your Argentinian friend…
Yes like everybody. When you see such a tackle… But I spoke to him when he was lying on the ground and he answered me. After that, I was a little reassured. Fortunately, he is fine and will take time to recover.
There are three games left without the internationals. Is time running out to react?
Of course, and we do not think of their return for the moment. We have a big team, even without them. Above all, everyone knows what we are worth and what this group is capable of. I assure you that everyone is focused on the match against Bordeaux on Sunday. There is a lot of seriousness and, I repeat, our only objective is victory.
Last season was incredible, with the double. Is it hard to assume this status?
I don’t feel it at all. We are simply going through a bad period, as happens in many teams. We work every day to change things. And I know that we will achieve this, find the path to success and once again become the Toulouse stadium that everyone knows.
To finish on Argentina, how did you experience the resignation of Mario Ledesma?
I was very surprised to learn that. (He hesitates) I’m a player and I have to understand his decision, which is personal and family. I respect her. He was a very important coach, for me personally, and for everyone in the selection. He took charge of it in 2018 and he gave me all his confidence to be a member of the Jaguares and a member of the Pumas. I would only have kind words for his future. Now, we must continue to advance the national team.