Dlove, disengagement, disenchantment: there are many ills when it comes to taking stock of OL’s season. Unless there is a very favorable combination of circumstances, Peter Bosz’s team will not play in European competition next season. An anomaly on the scale of this club which has always known the flavor of continental games since 1997, if we omit the famous exercise interrupted by the Covid in 2019-2020.
And this is a big disavowal for Jean-Michel Aulas. The Lyon president has long been touted for having always been one step ahead, but after a decade without titles, it must be recognized that his reputation as a visionary has been damaged.
The Klopp example to ask for patience
The results are obviously a moment of truth for Houssem Aouar and his family. Eliminated from the Europa League by West Ham in the quarter-finals after a return match without appeal (defeat 0-3), left the Coupe de France after half-time following the incidents at Charléty and painfully installed in the first classification game, the Lyonnais have never seemed so confusing. Capable of beating Marseille at home and then collapsing in Metz, OL shone with their lack of consistency. While there was always hope of hitching the right wagon to qualify for the European Cup, Les Gones missed a startling number of opportunities, to the point of probably staying on the dock.
In most cases, the coach is the first fuse. Peter Bosz, renowned for his game plan and his integration of young players, is currently slipping through the cracks. He also took the example of Jürgen Klopp, now undisputed coach at Liverpool to illustrate the need for patience on the benches. “Coaches need time. Klopp didn’t win anything in England the first year, but he put in place an organization, a workforce, which, in the end, are not bad. It takes time to put together a team with game principles and win titles.
“They are good guys but…”
As so often in recent years, OL are relying on their youngsters to maintain a bit of optimism for the future. In the wake of Maxence Caqueret, extended this week, Castello Lukeba and Malo Gusto revealed themselves. Behind, Bradley Barcola and Mohamed El Arouch, recent winner of the Gambardella Cup, could well find a place next season. But if the young locals are still popular, the tension is palpable with the rest of the workforce.
Taken aback by the public at Groupama Stadium for his poorly performing matches, captain Léo Dubois replied with a finger to his mouth after an assist against Porto. Karl Toko Ekambi had the same type of reaction after a goal against Montpellier. More and more recurrent episodes in Lyon, where the workforce has never shown harmony and the desire to succeed collectively. Xherdan Shaqiri, failure of the last summer transfer window and left the following winter for Chicago in MLS, had not failed to point the finger at this divided group. “The locker room lacked unity to win. They are good guys, but there is no life in the group,” the Swiss international told the Weather. The general manager of OL, Vincent Ponsot, who has taken a considerable place in the organization chart of OL, should not be mistaken this summer on the restructuring of the team in the company of Bruno Cheyrou, head of recruitment.
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While waiting to resolve these concerns of locker room compatibility and harmony on the ground, Jean-Michel Aulas will have other fish to fry. Two partners of OL, Pathé and IDG, announced last March their intention to sell their shares they hold in the club. The French and Chinese groups represent respectively 19.36% and 19.85% of the capital of OL groupe. According to Bloomberg, six offers from Europe and the United States are on the table to buy these shares. Jean-Michel Aulas, who does not wish to give up his seat in the short term, has often operated on instinct and trust. In this troubled period, his flair has no interest in deceiving him.