Ligue 1: the floor is no longer up to the defense at OL

Castello Lukeba against Gédéon Kalulu (Photo by Jean-Francois MONIER / AFP)

More than their lack of offensive realism, it was defensively that OL sank on Wednesday in Lorient. When Monaco and PSG come forward, the time is inevitably for concern.

It is customary to say that attack wins markets but defense brings titles. In Lyon, the main ambition is not a new league title. After 8th place last season, the time is above all to find the European Cup next season. Only to achieve this goal, relying on a strong defense is just as important. The last exercise and the 51 goals conceded proved that without a defensive base, being the second attack in the championship is of little use. Have the mistakes of the past been remembered? The whole club swore together yes, that the base was now more stable with certain more targeted arrivals. It is clear that the pattern is still the same after the rout against Lorient.

Faced with a compact but ultimately playful team, theOL was backhanded and conceded almost as many goals in one game as in the top five. The satisfaction of the clean sheet against Angers evaporated in a snap of the fingers. In this first setback of the season, the performance of Thiago Mendes has logically been singled out. Out at halftime “because he had a yellow”, the Brazilian defender was mainly guilty of two errors on the first two goals from Lorient. As already said on Wednesday, the former Lille resident helped out and it is to his credit. However, continuing with this solution, which was supposed to be only temporary, is much more problematic.

Change but how? And with who ?

Against Lorient, Thiago Mendes thought like a midfielder and can we really blame him, he who has been playing in this position for more than 20 years? No, only the stubbornness and above all the club’s desire to make him an axial defender challenge. Even before training resumed, Bruno Cheyrou had put his feet in the dish, assuring “that Mendes had extended to be a central defender”. The announcement had already made tilt at the time but with two months of transfer window and a degreasing in sight, many thought that reinforcements were surely going to arrive.

The total rout at Lorient does not of course result only from the summer strategy since the first five games gave rise to almost no faults but in the culture of the moment and even in the longer term, this transfer window may weigh. Wednesday Peter Bosch brought out Thiago Mendes to replace him with Damien Da Silva. The 34-year-old defender was announced at the start and finally finds himself propelled as the first option. “I’m happy to come back and play. When the coach calls on me, I try to be present”he blurted out Prime Video. In this defensive project, the leadership was given to two 19-year-old kids from the training center.

Summer choices that leave you wondering

This year of confirmation shows that expectations weigh much heavier than at the time of the outbreak. castello Lukeba and especially Malo taste suffer the backlash and it was predictable. Despite all his goodwill and strength of character, Nicolas Tagliafico is limited by the language barrier to be the true defensive leader. “We must not forget that Gusto has only three years in this position, says a coach well aware of the Lyon environment and questioned about the performance of the international Espoir. He is still very perfectible and does not have all the subtleties of this position.

It didn’t stop theOL to sell Leo Dubois and above all not to recruit a real understudy. A choice that pushes the club to put itself back to the wall with limited choices. jerome Boateng is absent subscribers, and pushing towards the Sinaly exit Diomended, the club did not really show the Ivorian a full confidence which had already crumbled through injuries. After the defeat in Brittany, the return of Diomended versus monaco has been put forward, only in Lyon, we are no longer except for a paradox.

Only 45 shots conceded but…

Knowing the Dutch coach, Thiago Mendes will maintain his confidence in the Principality and the words of Bosch after Lorient went in this direction. “He’s a very good defender. He’s very good in the air, he’s a very good footballer. But he can’t lose a ball like on the 2nd goal (…). I’m not worried, I know my players, I know that we are capable of doing much better.” The coach had used such a technique with Karl Toko Ekambi after Reims and the striker had returned that confidence to him in the next two games. Except that an attacker can afford to get through more than a defender. The defeat in Lorient was not put on the lack of offensive realism but on the defensive feverishness.

In this trompe l’oeil start to the season, theOL isn’t that bad defensively though. With now 7 goals conceded, he has certainly left his status as the best defense but with only 45 shots conceded, he is the best in the exercise in Ligue 1. Only, the quality of the opponents, already pointed out after the 13 out of 15 , clearly rebounded after Lorient. With Monaco and PSG in one week, OL are going to come up against the best offensively in France. These will be real tests both collectively and defensively. It is simply unfortunate that the Lyonnais do not arrive there with full confidence.

Ligue 1: the floor is no longer up to the defense at OL