The national coach took stock at a press conference on Tuesday, at the start of the preparation which should lead “his” Blues to the Euro, from September 1 to 18. Selected pieces.
The state of the troops : “The players prepare before the rally. Before, this was not always the case. We must congratulate them for their professionalism, they are in good condition. I don’t know when or where the final selection will be made. The doctor started doing it with two players.»
The Blues without Nicolas Batum and Nando de Colo : “For any team, being deprived of two major players means rethinking, rebuilding a team that will necessarily be different, even probably in its way of playing, compared to the one that won the silver medal at the Olympics. last year. It cannot be considered negligible. This would be underestimating the enormous contribution they have had in recent years. It’s up to us to invent, to find another path to the level of performance we set ourselves, the highest. We know it’s not easy but we’ll try.»
captaincy : “We have a shared intelligence meeting on Thursday during which this subject will be put on the table. I will not choose the captain alone. Evan Fournier? He is one of the obvious candidates for the function but it is not ratified. He has a suitable profile. (…) To be captain, you have to be at the service of the team and the performance of the team. Everyone must influence the performance and he, a little more than the others. By his role, he is permanently in support of his teammates and a relay of the staff. This is what is most important in the role and personality of the captain.(Editor’s note: the usual captain of the France team, Nicolas Batum, is forfeited)
Last year’s performance was achieved thanks to the talent and qualities of our players, but also with unfailing cohesion, everyone knew their role and brought their stone to the building.
The integration of players who were not at the Olympics : “We work on it daily. At the moment, we are still learning the basics of our game in order to hope, very quickly, to present a coherent basketball before refining. At the same time, we will try to facilitate the integration of newcomers but also and above all to facilitate their positioning. Last year’s performance was achieved thanks to the talent and qualities of our players, but also to an unfailing cohesion, each one knew his role and brought his stone to the building. These are sine qua non conditions for hoping for something. If we go there in a dispersed way, even with qualities, we will not do much. We have to be in working order and the weeks to come will have to do with that. It will be a daily job because of the regulation, a job from player to player too, a construction job in which everyone will have a role to play.»
The composition of the final group : “If I don’t know when the final selection will be made, it will very clearly be before the qualifying matches for the World Cup. We have often cut players from the first stage in the past. This will probably not be the case and we will in any case not have the final group after the Netherlands on Sunday (in Rouen, editor’s note)… We will have to wait for the second session.»
The qualifications for the World Cup at the heart of the preparation and before the Euro : “It’s frankly bizarre… The defeat in Montenegro wasn’t very serious, provided we ensured in the August window. Especially since we will be deprived of many players in November … Given the signings and the players who have returned to the Euroleague, the reservoir is drying up a bit. We really have to win these two matches against the Czech Republic and Bosnia and Herzegovina, they will not only be preparation matches. We will also use it to prepare for the Euro, the number 1 objective, but we will lose a little time in terms of preparing for matches, it will be like a parenthesis, with this preparation which will be more dedicated to qualifying matches than to the Euro. When we face Bosnia on the 27th, it’s already a period when, in normal times, we would have worked on Germany. (…) We used every usable day compared to NBA players. I would have liked to start last Monday instead of Friday but we couldn’t for that reason… We have to respect that, otherwise we couldn’t use our NBA players, and it wouldn’t make sense. It really becomes more and more complex because we have fewer and fewer days to prepare. We’re trying to be as efficient as possible, but we don’t have the answer yet. Running out of time is a fear. We will do the maximum. In any case, you are never completely ready. It’s true in the club, with six weeks of preparation. We always find that there is a lack of it at the very start of the season… You have to adapt, you have no choice.“(Editor’s note: the Blues will have six matches on the menu between now and the Euro, four friendly matches and two matches counting for the qualifications for the World Cup)
Nico and Nando, it was almost 30 minutes on average each and therefore 60 to two out of 200 in total. More than a quarter of the team is not there and needs to be replaced! You have to rewrite a story and do it quickly.
The memory of the failure at Euro 2017 : “It must not be forgotten. From the staff’s point of view, you have to use it to avoid certain mistakes that we made together at the time. We have to be able to better communicate certain issues to the players, so that they can take ownership of them. We were talking about integrating young people, we will be faced with the same thing. It’s not a redesign but there are real changes. Nico and Nando, it was almost 30 minutes on average each and therefore 60 to two out of 200 in total. More than a quarter of the team is not there and needs to be replaced! You have to rewrite a story and do it quickly. We didn’t know how to do it in 2017. It was Boris Diaw’s last major campaign. We both tried to instill certain values in the team, but we didn’t succeed. But it was also a starting point, it also helped us not to make the same mistakes two years later at the World Cup in China. There, there is a real difference: we have a team base which knows this and which conveys a real identity. We stay on these values since the beginning of the preparation. These values are a treasure and it is from them that we want to build our adventure this year. If we manage to do it, to really allow the players who arrive to share these values, we can do it.»
Joel Embiid : “When it’s fully selectable, I don’t see why I wouldn’t select it. As much as possible, we always took the best players. I consider that from the moment it is selectable, it belongs to this category.”