The captain of Fenix Toulouse appreciates that his team are in the nails after three weeks of preparation.
What conclusions do you draw from these first three weeks of preparation?
We are now attacking the right period after a big phase optimized for the physique. We played a match last Friday (victory against Chartres, editor’s note) and there, we really get into the tactical and game aspect. It’s more interesting even if we necessarily have to go through the physical work we’ve done. I have the impression that everyone is in good shape and we are not late, which is already positive.
What do you remember from this first match won against Chartres (34-32)?
If at the level of the game the training sessions were not terrible until now because we had trouble putting on the intensity and the rhythm, in fact, during the match, I quickly saw that the team had switched to competition mode. We immediately found the state of mind of the last season with mobility, volume in the game. It’s good, it’s a group that has a history and just needs to challenge intensity. This match was therefore reassuring in relation to that.
You also benefit from the fact that the workforce has not been turned upside down too much in the off-season. Is this an advantage?
It’s a real plus, the automatisms are there and even if there are a few absentees (Ayed, Marmier and Bonnefond did not play against Chartres, editor’s note), we are on a common base and a fairly solid base. We are also lucky that our three recruits speak French and that they have integrated well […] The face of the team has not really changed but we hope that these alterations will bring more to the content.
You attack a big weekend this evening with the reception of PSG then tomorrow, in Thuir, a confrontation against Granollers.
Paris is interesting because we know they are going to play fast. Against Chartres, we were faster on that ground. There, we measure ourselves against the best so it will be interesting to work on that. After Paris, we play Granollers, it’s good to chain the matches. I don’t really know this Spanish formation but it’s always interesting to confront another handball culture. But I admit that I prefer to play against a very strong team in preparation such as PSG and to be confronted with our real weaknesses than to have easy matches.
How do we approach PSG in preparation, as in the middle of the season?
No, I do not think so. I think it will be more tactical, knowing how to respond to their qualities with Luc (Steins) who will pick up speed as always, so manage to respond well because we had some problems against Chartres in that sector. And then refine our game, we try to bring a little novelty and as Paris is not a direct competitor, there is no problem with that. Especially since Paris, defensively, is strong with two very good goalkeepers (Palicka and Green, editor’s note) who are a real added value for them. It will be interesting to face them. We’re going to play it hard.