For over thirty years, the president of the OL still fiercely defends his club. After Wednesday's disillusionment with Hoffenheim (2-2), he applied his old communication recipes.
No other French president is closer to his Jean-Michel Aulas club. In office since 1987, the almost seventy – in March 2019 – remains more than ever at the helm when Olympique Lyonnais (OL) suffers turbulence. In the old wolf, the one who led Lyon seven times in the title of French champion in the 2000s, applies the same battle plan in the heart of the storm: defend his coach at all costs, face the press showing himself, if necessary, offensive and keeping the path towards the objectives.
On Wednesday, November 7th, the extraction concurrently with Hoffenheim in the Champions League was an opportunity to re-test his experience. Unlike most of his players (with the exception of Lucas Tousart), Jean-Michel Aulas did not escape when it came to dealing with journalists after this disillusionment. He was more aggressive and stronger than his team, who had driven 2-0 for three quarters of an hour and had found himself in numerical superiority, so totally foiled.
Champions League: against Hoffenheim, OL plays Doctor Jekyll and Mr. Hyde
"The coach has nothing to do with this"
The president initially supported his coach, Bruno Génésio, who had opted for a tactical change (a 3-5-2 system). "I want to explain, because sometimes it is the coach to be blamed, he has found the perfect system since we are leading 2-0, we have eleven to ten chances that they should have let prevail. And then, in retrospect, we come to question everything because the others have returned to the score, but Hoffenheim's team has drawn because the players have lost a bit of their foot. The trainer has nothing to do with this, nor the president. We must also weigh. "
Thus, the president of Lyon tried to defuse the critics even before they were formulated. For this reason, he stressed the role, in his opinion, detrimental to the press. "We have some players who have clashed in the second part on the side of trust, sometimes I read things that are unjust: when you play the coach or president's remarks towards the players in the opposite direction and that creates schisms, you take part in the lack of players' trust ", he explained with reference to Memphis Depay and Tanguy Ndombele.
Champions League: OL in the wake of Memphis
"We need everyone to help us, insisted the president of Lyon. By dint of permanent criticism, which are not all justified, I think the players are sensitive, at least much more than the president, who has a little more experience. "
A president who, himself, is no longer spared
The method is well known and Jean-Michel Aulas usually rejuvenates his group using a widely fantasized and exaggerated adversity. But this time, while the whistles were heard and the turn south of the Lyon stadium issued a flag-shaped warning – "If not good, preserve our pride" – you take the risk of having a break with some of your audience.
Long untouchable in its stronghold of Lyon, the strong man of OL is no longer spared personally by the critics. He is accused of keeping Bruno Génésio, the absence of a sports director, despite his promises, or his conflicting communication.
So far, the situation remains under control until the results remain respectable. Although Lyon's last title dates back to 2012 (a Coupe de France), Lyon has almost always managed to maintain its rank in the top three positions of the French league.
A turning game
In this season in Ligue 1, despite many slow games, the club of the Rhone is fourth two points from the second place, which must be the goal behind the untouchable PSG. And in the Champions League, despite the missed opportunities (twice has joined the score on the Hoffenheim line), the knockout stages are still accessible. The last qualification of Lyon dates back to 2012 and the elimination against the Cypriots of Nicosia.
"We are not going to bang our heads against the walls because we are second in our group.The role of the leaders is to show that at the end of the fourth game we are always present and that it will be enough to win one of the two matches to be sure to be qualified ., Jean-Michel Aulas positively wanted. I think we are in a situation that is not good in terms of form, but that allows us to continue to dream of a qualification and this is our goal. "
OL may have played a turning match yesterday in his season. Will the players and their coach have the psychological resources necessary to evacuate this new disappointment? As such, the trip, Saturday, November 10, at the Red Lantern League 1 will provide some elements of response.
Any other result of a victory at Guingamp would have led the Lyonnais in a negative spiral that even the look-out Jean-Michel Aulas would have had difficulty stopping.