Beaten in the Coupe de France final on Saturday (1-0), OGC Nice missed a chance to qualify for a European Cup before the end of the championship. Christophe Galtier will have to re-motivate his troops for the last three Ligue 1 games.
After the setback in the Coupe de France final against Nantes (1-0), the day off granted to the Niçois on Sunday was to be used to recover from a good hangover. Back empty-handed in the Côte d’Azur around 4:45 a.m. on Sunday, the Aiglons will have to resume training on Monday at the Center de la Plaine du Var and prepare for a crucial meeting for the race for Europe against Saint-Étienne (Wednesday, 19 hours). But in what state?
Players wiped out
A few hours before the final, captain Dante had assumed that this match had been in his head and those of his teammates for many weeks, which had earned him a remark from Christophe Galtier, with a smile, saying he better understood recent performances. disappointing from his players.
The people of Nice wanted to dream on Saturday evening. They finally left Saint-Denis plagued by regrets, doubts and sorrows, like the tears on the cheeks of young Khephren Thuram, Melvin Bard and Hicham Boudaoui.
Before joining the locker room, another feeling could be read on the faces of the Riviera players: frustration. Annoyed by the arbitration of Stéphanie Frappart who did not improve her popularity rating on the Baie des Anges, Jean-Clair Todibo was seen at the exit of the tunnel in a tense discussion with Ludovic Blas before the Nantais went to lift the cup .
In the locker room, Christophe Galtier did not return to the performance of his players. The analysis will begin on Monday. The only perceptible voices were those of the children of the players who will only understand later that a final is not played every year, at least not for OGC Nice. On the return plane, same observation as in the trains of the supporters, a deadly silence. All fell from above.
If the questionable penalty awarded to the Ligériens at the start of the second period did not go down well with some supporters, others are above all disgusted to have crossed the whole country to attend this kind of spectacle. “I don’t blame anyone, or rather everyone. To Galtier for the incomprehensible composition. To the team who weren’t there in the engagement and who didn’t show anything. It’s my worst disillusionment as a supporter”, confides Axel, supporter of the Gym.
I don’t blame anyone, or rather everyone.
Alain, historical fan, is “disgusted”. “If you want to win a final, you have to fight. We didn’t play it,” he regrets, just as bitterly as Jean-Philippe: “We saw the same OGC Nice that we see in championship since the spring: without surprise or self-esteem”, describes one of the figures of the podcast Avanti Nissa devoted to club news, “how can you be so little invested in a match of such importance? It’s as if we had been robbed of the pleasure of believing in it a little during the match.”
Julien Fournier weakened
The players are therefore targeted, like Kasper Dolberg who sees his status as a public darling crumble, but also Christophe Galtier for his difficulty in transcending the group and his obsession with a tactical system that does not bring satisfaction, and the leaders with Julien Fournier at the head of the gondola. The winter transfer window has given rise to tensions between the director of football and the new coach of the Gym. When the second demanded experience, the first hired Bilal Brahimi, 22 years old and less than ten Ligue 1 games to his credit. In this sense, Christophe Galtier would have directly contacted the shareholders to express his desire to set up a workforce that suits him better.
Added to this is a press release from INEOS dated last Wednesday concerning another club in its galaxy, Lausanne, future relegated to the Swiss second division, announcing the arrival of a new sporting director, Leen Heemskerk, Julien Fournier occupying up to to date this position for all the clubs of the group (Nice, Lausanne and Abidjan).
A complicated final sprint
It is therefore, as often after a missed final and a dynamic at half mast, the blur on the horizon. Jim Ratcliffe’s offer to buy Chelsea, even if beaten, worried Gym fans and some employees. On Saturday, as kick-off approached and after being cheered on by La Populaire Sud, the British investor confessed at the microphone of RMC that “winning the Coupe de France was an important thing for the INEOS project”. If his wish has not been granted, he can still hope for qualification for the European Cup via the championship because participating in continental games is indeed “the objective of the club” recalls Jean-Pierre Rivère.
We have to raise our heads and end the season well.
Current 6th in Ligue 1, OGC Nice could come two points closer to the podium if they win Wednesday against Saint-Etienne. “We have to raise our heads, meet next season and above all finish the season well”, hammered the President after the defeat against Nantes. “Nothing can replace the disillusionment of this failed final”, regrets Axel for his part. “I will continue to go to the stadium because I am loyal to my city and my club, but without any particular desire and with great sadness.” Alain continues: “On Wednesday, the stadium will still sound hollow.”