“It is in the middle that we have evolved the most”

The women’s PSG coach, Gérard Prêcheur, highlighted the progress of his midfielder, carried by Kheira Hamraoui and Oriane Jean-François in particular, before the capital match of the Champions League against Real Madrid on Friday, at the Parc des Princes (9 p.m.).

“We imagine that the working atmosphere was positive after the prestigious success in Lyon on Sunday (1-0)…
It is obvious that the results are a criterion of professional well-being. The players are confident, and that brings serenity.

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The match against Real Madrid this Friday will be to leave or double: the qualification in the event of victory, or a probable elimination in the event of defeat (because Real will face the modest Albanians of Vllaznia Shkodër on the last day). What is your approach?
It’s not complicated: we will play to win. We can’t imagine anything else, it’s much too random. A defeat will eliminate us, it’s clear, clean and precise, you have to be lucid. Playing a draw is much too random, it does not correspond at all to my philosophy of the game and my approach to competition. We want to win and qualify tomorrow.

What do you think of Real Madrid, against whom you should have drawn in the first leg (0-0, October 26)?
Madrid are a very good team which has the characteristic of combining two styles of play, the short game and the technique, with the Spanish style which I appreciate very much, but also the ability to alternate with a direct game and the faculty to project forward. This is the strength of this team.

Kheira Hamraoui has impressed in recent weeks. How strong and indispensable has she become again at PSG?
She became strong again, because we had her evaluated in her register, the one in which she expresses herself best, at the position of number 6. She integrated well into the collective, I oriented the tactical aspect depending on his integration into the team in terms of offensive animation. So far, it’s effective. We want it to continue.

The midfield looks dominant again. Does its evolution satisfy you?
It is in this register that we have evolved the most. I rely on a game in possession, not sterile, because I want us to be able to project ourselves and find spaces behind the opposing line. The environment is predominant in my philosophy, it is he who makes the link. I’m glad you saw this development. For two months, the little time we had to work, we really progressed in this register.

Dutch international Jackie Groenen still seems to be looking for her bearings in this environment…
She is a player with great professionalism, a lot of qualities, and a very wide register. Such a register can also pose difficulties for the coach. You have to find the position that suits her best, taking into account the workforce next to her. She is progressing well, she arrived a little late, I ask her for patience. The January-February period will be conducive to work, a little more in detail.

Oriane Jean-François (21), who arrived this summer from Paris FC, has taken a growing place in this midfield. How do you describe his progress?
Its strong point is that it has no limits. She has no weak points, unlike other players. Mentally, she is intelligent and disciplined, keeping a certain creativity, at the position of number six it is important. She is physical, athletic, in duels, but also a very good technical background. She has a good knowledge of the game, she has the profile for this relay position on the offensive level, and as a recovery on the defensive level. In terms of statistics since the start of the season, beyond the feeling, it is she who has the best.

Is the competition in the middle, with five players regularly used for three positions (Geyoro, Jean-François, Hamraoui, Groenen, Fazer), another key to success in this sector?
In my game orientations, we need to bring numerical superiority to the middle. We can do it. What matters is to play the best, then I adapt my system and especially the game animation so that there is consistency in the relationships. It’s great in midfield. We now know where PSG must make the effort in terms of recruitment … (in attack).

More than 16,000 supporters are expected at the Parc des Princes this Friday. What inspires you?
Fantastic, it’s great, congratulations to the club, to the supporters who will brave the cold, to the ultras who will set the mood. It’s great for everyone. I hope we’ll put on a good show for them. »

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