48 hours after its official presentation, Luka Elsner, the new coach of Standard, spoke again to the press, this time to preface his first match at the head of the Liège team. Standard receives Oud-Heverlee Louvain this Saturday evening. As a reminder, the club of Sclessin is going through difficult times: 12th with a record of 13 out of 30 points and a series of three consecutive defeats which precipitated the dismissal of Mbaye Leye and its staff. So this is already a serious test for Luka Elsner. The Franco-Slovenian coach, who is impatiently awaiting this first meeting, has already taken strong action this week …
Luka Elsner, how was this first week at Standard?
“It was a rather hectic week. We had to deal with a lot of things with the return of the players in a dribble manner. The last internationals, like Selim Amallah and Damjan Pavlovic, did not return until this Thursday. For the first time this week, I was finally able to provide training with the full players. It was really beneficial to be able to have the whole group. This training, 80% focused on tactics, went perfectly. I was able to provide some advice on the defensive aspect in the different zones and how to place our most creative players in the best conditions in order to carry danger in the opposing camp. I can describe these first exchanges with the players as fruitful. I feel a real motivation and a desire to progress. I find it very encouraging “
In this context, does not Saturday’s match come a little too early?
“It’s true that I would have preferred to have 3 or 4 more training sessions with the whole group. Now, it’s a match that will have to be understood in a different way. I am convinced that our desire , our energy and our will to do things well should be able to compensate for certain shortcomings following in particular the change of game that will be put in place. I will certainly not upset everything but the tactics will evolve. I advocate attacking football where you have to go forward, but not at any cost. You will also have to be careful not to expose yourself too much “
Arnaud Bodart deserves to wear the armband
Have you already made a few decisions, in particular entrusting the captain’s armband to Arnaud Bodart?
“I think he deserves it. Arnaud is a safe bet from the core. He’s a talented goalkeeper and he’s also a leader in the locker room. I’m really counting on him. I appreciate his personality. It’s someone responsible and we need a player like him to move this group forward. Arnaud is now our new captain. “
You also reinstated some players who were no longer part of the core under Mbaye Leye?
“That’s right. The door is not closed to anyone. I count on all the players. It is up to them to show me that they deserve their place. I am thinking in particular of Noë Dussenne and to Mehdi Carcela. One thing is certain, I will field the best players at the best time. The situation can therefore change every week. Nothing is final “
Bope Bokadi will play in Genk this Friday with the U21
For the rest, you can not yet have all of your kernel?
“Some players are indeed unavailable as Gojko Cimirot, who was injured this week with Bosnia. The MRI showed he suffered from a small lesion in his calf. I don’t count on him for about ten days. Other absent: Kostas Laifis who has not yet recovered from his quadriceps tear. He still feels a latent pain. He still has to work individually. On the other hand, the injury of Bope Bokadi evolves very well. He trained this week and will even play this Friday with the U21s in Genk. So I hope to be able to count on him in ten days, perhaps for the trip to the Cercle de Bruges. This is excellent news because he is a player who will bring us a lot in defense, even in midfield… “
After giving your first training sessions and getting to know the players, is Standard in your opinion?
“The Standard is certainly not in its place. The team is better than this 12th place but if it is there, it is because there are reasons. It is up to us to show that these players and this collective There is talent at Standard, that’s obvious, but when talent isn’t expressed in the collective, results don’t follow. We have barely scored 10 goals so far. insufficient in my eyes for a team like ours “
On a personal level, what can you bring to this team?
“First of all, to bring the hope of being able to quickly change the situation by voice, motivation and energy, but also to unite this group around the same objective. I am here to put myself at the service of the team, so that the players can express themselves as well as possible. I also want to bring tactical clarity by developing fast, offensive-oriented football while, I repeat, ensuring our rear “
This first match gives me a lot of excitement …
What kind of reception do you expect from the supporters this Saturday?
“I can’t answer that question yet but I expect the players to go all out and fight for every ball from the start of the match. In that case, I hope the supporters give us a shot. a helping hand and it is together that we will return to success. These are fine words, I know, and we will have to act on Saturday night as soon as the game against OHL begins. This is how we will leave in a positive dynamic “
Last thing, what is your feeling before this big premiere? Do you feel pressure or rather excitement?
“I’m going to be sincere with you. I’m really looking forward to starting this new adventure here at Standard. This first game, which is moreover at home, therefore gives me some excitement. I know that everything will not be perfect. but I am convinced that my players will surpass themselves to regain the confidence that has been lacking in recent weeks. In any case, I’m not afraid… “.