While the president of Rodez Aveyron football, Pierre-Olivier Murat, was at a press conference yesterday afternoon, Didier Santini delivered his first words as the new Ruthenian coach to the Press Center by telephone. Maintenance.
Didier Santini, can you explain to us what led you to sign for Rodez?
After the eviction of Laurent (Peyrelade, historic Raf coach sacked on November 8), the club was looking for a coach. Agents told the president about me. He immediately matched, saying that my profile interested him a lot, and that he wanted to see me again. So we saw each other, and then there you go.
It’s not easy to go after Laurent, because he’s someone I really appreciate and with whom I played for two years. (in Lille). I know how difficult it must have been for the president to say to a person he likes: “Well listen, let’s stop. »
Were you immediately enthusiastic about the Raf project?
Yes, because it fits in my values. I was looking for a structured club, which was not “bling-bling”. Whether it’s the president, Greg (Ursule, manager), or Laurent, they have done a fantastic job for years. To build a roof on a house, there must first be a good foundation. Every time I signed somewhere, it was because I had a special relationship with the president.
In September, you left your job as a coach in Saint-Brieuc (last National). What happened ?
I don’t want to talk about the things that’s passed away. We had discussions with my president for three weeks, and we made the decision to stop, by mutual agreement. Maybe it didn’t work because of me, I don’t know. That’s how it happens. It stays between him and me, that’s also friendship.
When your departure was recorded from Saint-Brieuc, did you feel the urge to train again quickly?
When we stop, we always want. It’s our job. I say it honestly, I had other discussions than Rodez. I never expected to be able to come here, but sometimes the planets align at the right time. I’m happy on the one hand, but I regret it on the other, because frankly, I really appreciate Laurent.
You have never coached a professional club before Rodez. Was this a prerequisite for your new club?
No, Rodez was an opportunity. It’s a job that I love, so I could still have coached at a lower level. Whatever the championship, the main thing is that I have fun. I didn’t have a specific career plan, telling myself that if I couldn’t go to Ligue 2, it was a failure. Rodez is an opportunity!
Isn’t it difficult to take over a club, which has had all its recent successes with the same coach?
I have no pressure on that. I want to continue the fantastic job he has done here. It will be difficult to take over from him, but he has brought the club together so much and done incredible things here that it is extraordinary for me.
Have you had contact with Peyrelade since you knew you were going to train Raf?
No not yet. Words aren’t always easy to find, but I’ll call it.
You will find all of its staff here. Is it a habit for you to arrive alone?
Yes, that has always happened to me. I don’t know the staff members yet, but I’m lucky to have spoken with Emerick (Darbelet) over the past two days. We have one of our best friends in common, so it’s getting closer.
You arrive in Rodez in full truce of the World Cup. Have you planned to have the program put in place by the former coach evaluated?
No, no, the program is good. We will resume on December 5, and then we will go on an internship (in Canet-en-Roussillon, from December 10 to 16, which will open with a match in Nîmes, and will end with one in Montpellier). It will allow me to get to know my players better.
This season, Rodez is used to playing in 3-5-2. Is this a system that might work for you?
The team was made in the recruitment to play in 3-5-2. It is very well made, and it can be assessed. When they played 4 behind against Paris FC in the second half, or at Caen in the first, there were good things too. Players are quite “chameleons” and able to change systems.
We’ll see. For the moment, I am not left to change. Last season, I started in 4-2-3-1 or 4-4-2, and ended up with 4-3-3 the whole second half of the season. You have to know how to adapt.
How do you view the start of the season for your new players?
When you win at Bastia, Paris, or Saint-Étienne, there is a lot of quality. Sometimes it works less, like at home, but I think the group has the quality to save themselves.