Football – Benoit Sturbois: “We have to work on our defensive toughness”

Football – Benoit Sturbois: “We have to work on our defensive toughness”

The Portuguese coach of Amiens assessed the lackluster season.

How do you rate this season?

It was a very mixed season. I would still prefer it to happen this way, with a poor start to the season before it ends at full speed, allowing us to keep a good dynamic in mind to try to be able to start the season.

It took us a while to find our tee because we had to find the automatic, so that everyone became fully aware of the game project, and what was expected of them. We also had to find continuity because we never managed to get the same team on after 8 games. We were not spared from injuries, arrests and absence from each other. This may partly explain the poor start to the tournament.

We have shown that we can take on superior teams

We did a good job at the Coupe de France being taken out by the N3 after one wiped out. This is the positive side of this season. Even in the Coupe de la Ligue, we eliminated Compiègne and Roye. We’ve shown that we can take on superior teams from one or two divisions. It’s interesting to know that, in a few matches, we can compete with this kind of team.

We were able to learn from this poor start to the season and from this very good second half of the season to try to erase what we didn’t do well and keep what we did well. We will try to maintain the majority of the workforce to maintain continuity. I don’t hide that I have a lot of ambitions for the next season. I hope the performances live up to the ambitions. But nothing was ever announced. We do not reach occupied territory, with specific goals such as climbing. It will really be necessary to continue the positive dynamic with which we finished the season and try to be as consistent as possible in content to allow us to get results.

At the end of the season, we have a contradictory impression, from the outside, that you scored a lot of goals and at the same time lacked offensive efficiency, how do you explain that?

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In fact, it is a huge paradox. We were ineffective but we scored a lot of goals. This lack of efficiency is harmful because there are results we couldn’t get, like against Breteuil where we should have pretty much won. It shows we get chances, and that means we don’t score all the goals we could.

But it also leads to thinking about the fact that if we can’t win by two or three goals, it’s because we have defensive flaws. And when I say that, it’s not just about the defenders, it’s the team block. There are things that were not defensive.

If we can score two goals, I’m sorry, you don’t have to do anything but win. This is where you need to have a defensive balance. So yeah, if we put four or five and the opponent puts only two, we’ll win the game, except we have to work, that’s an area for improvement, in our collective defensive strength. Even if you miss seven or eight chances, when you score two goals, the match should be folded, and we should not be afraid.

Moreover, the teams that top the rankings are the ones that score the fewest goals because they 1-0, 2-1, take them. And we, unfortunately, have games where we go 2-2 while controlling head and shoulders. And indeed, we have this offensive shortcoming, we can tell ourselves that we are working on the offensive efficiency to score 6 goals and if we take 3, we will always be positive.

But I think that’s the lack of it in the end, we’ll always have, it’s part of the amateur world. We have players who put in a lot of effort, work for the group by outdoing themselves in movements and calls, and that sometimes makes them lack a little clarity in front of goal. I would like to point out more on the collective defensive aspect that we have to be tougher on. In transitions to lose the ball we slouch a lot, we wait for something to happen, we always react, we don’t anticipate things. We have a shortage at that level and that’s what we have to work on. Because against Bretwell, if we win 2-0, we’d say it’s a huge victory for the Portuguese, who could have put in more, but maybe we haven’t even talked about these offensive flaws.

How do you explain that it was day and night in terms of results before and after the break?

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Well, indeed, that change, it was made in terms of points but it wasn’t too huge in terms of content. It is a question of success. We did a little better defensively. I think there weren’t big differences, just a little more maturity on the defensive side. We may have struck a balance.

And then, we surfed the waves in a dynamic way. We scored some goals which we did really well. We had a revival of form on the offensive side with the arrival of Ryan (da Vega, editor’s note), the numbers speak for themselves. And then we felt more comfortable on the collective defensive side because everyone took a full amount of the work that they had to do.

And right away, we see a huge difference on an accounting level while in terms of gameplay, we’re on the same line. We produce toys, we are in a game project where we want the ball. There were no big changes in the content, but there were small things. We are more effective offensively, we are more effective defensively with dire consequences that, in order, make us jump.

True, we have the impression that there is a significant change, yes at the accounting level, it is clear, there is no picture, except that at the level of the game, there is no change, only in terms of attitudes. Where we are tougher. This is football, it’s all about the details.

Can we also attribute this change to the issue of trust?

Yes, of course. Confidence and success go hand in hand. A striker who is not confident will hit the post directly next to the goalkeeper. If he’s confident, he’ll put it down. Then the players enjoy the trust of the employees and their partners. I also think it’s not just a matter of trust, but players like Camille, Salomon, etc. They may count on as many efforts as they can give. Surely at some point, in terms of clarity, we are no longer necessarily at the top.

Then there may also be Ryan’s arrival factor who brings a dynamism to the group, full of confidence that pushes the group upward. Players see a player like Ryan working, and that makes them want to work and get along with themselves. It is a public trust.

There are a lot of factors and I’m not going to lie, if we knew all of them, we would solve the issues quickly.

There are a lot of factors and I’m not going to lie, if we knew all of them, we would solve the issues quickly. But it is not mathematics. We try to find the levers, talk to the players, and put them in the best possible conditions so that they are at their maximum confidence and at their highest potential. But we know that from season to season, it may not necessarily work in our favor or be a great season. There is a lot of randomness.

I don’t have a real answer. All season, we ask ourselves questions, all season we try to make it easier for the players. But then, we’re amateurs, are they really good at their sneakers? Has the man not worked all week, one hard week, to explain why he does not put one foot in front of the other? Didn’t he argue with his wife and arrive a little less? In return, didn’t he have a great week and come back energized?

Morgan Schumer
Image credit: Reynald Valleron – Gazette Sports

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