Koscielny: “I love to be a defender” – Exclusive Translation of Interview for French TV ‘SFR’ Exc

We are fortunate today to have a full translation of our Skipper’s interview from GT’s ‘Man in France’ @Grooverblog Vincent Fabres

 

Skipper on the pitch this season

On the fact he’s the manager‘s most used player since his move to Arsenal in 2010

 I think I learn through the years that alongside the training there is also the background: preparation, massage, food. I try to learn and take the best from my teammates about that, to avoid injuries and ensure myself a good shape. And it works quite well I reckon! 

 On the expectations about defenders in Premier League and French League…

 I think in Premier League, we have several amazing strikers. They can score a lot of goals, week in week out. As a defender, you know you have be ready, to be completely focused every game. You know you will have to put physical pressure each game you play. As a defender, the Premier League is the best, the most difficult league. A fight and a pleasure combined.

 On what makes a good defender in Premier League…

 First of all, the physical pressure. You have to show your opponent you are ready for the fight during 90 minutes. And if he wants to beat you, he will have to put his socks off. It works on a physical and psychologic level.

The first two challenges are important. It gives the tone, the rhythm of your game. Puts pressure on the striker and makes your confidence stronger

 

With his mentor

On his style of play and his love to anticipate… 

 I think it’s one of my qualities: I really like to anticipate a movement, to guess how an opponent will pass the ball to the striker I defend on. And it’s also a way to put my team on the right foot to go forward and create chances instead of being stuck in our own box for example. 

But what I really like in my job as a defender is challenges. To be one-on-one with a player, trying to guess his next move, is a good way for a defender to improve. Every striker is different, you can always learn from challenging. In fact, I really love to be a defender *laugh*

  On the best striker he played against…

 *without hesitation* Drogba. A complete striker, amazing body shape, unbeatable in the air, unstoppable with the ball. It was so hard to beat him. And also so gifted technically. I can’t count how many times I struggled against him.

 

Best he has played against

On the differences between 3 and 4 at the back…

 It really depends of the way we need to play in a specific game. When 3 at the back with the possession, we cover the full width of the pitch. We got a lot of space on each side to go forward with the ball and we can create a lot of opportunities, with an extra man for example. It’s a very positive aspect. On the defensive part, we are stronger because once we lose the ball, we are immediately 5 at the back and spaces are tightened. When each player knows his job and what he has to do, it’s very comfortable to be 3 at the back. We can easily reach our midfield and go forward. 

 

Chatting this week to SFR

On how he reacts in different type of situation, like a cross with the striker close to him or Eden Hazard running through him…

 It depends where I am on the pitch. I always try to have an eye on the player who makes the cross, while keeping the striker in front of me and following his call. I always try to keep a physical contact with him, like putting my hand on him. That way, I can feel every change of movement or direction. 

On Eden Hazard *pause and smile*. Again, it depends of my position on the pitch, if I’m in my own box or near the middle. Near the middle, I’d go for « smart » foul *smile*. Close to the box, I’d go on back pedal, trying to force him to go on his « weak » foot, waiting to a teammates to help me to block him. I watch the last goal he scored against us, trying to analyse my mistake. I should have move earlier, pushing him on his right foot near the touch line. Instead, I’m stepping back and it becomes impossible for me to go on a challenge without making a foul or a penalty. It’s clearly not the right way to deal with that kind of players, who can change his run so fast. I should have wait the help of my teammates (Gabriel). But trust me, on normal speed, you have absolutely no time to think about all the options *laugh*

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