It is an impression, impalpable, both solid and so fragile. This little thing in the air that transforms a beautiful season into a daydream, where everything fits together well and it seems like it never has to stop. After going through all the big players (Monaco, Marseille, Lyon, Rennes) – and the smaller ones for that matter – RC Lens definitely took their season into another dimension on Sunday, outclassing PSG at the Bollaert. A collective demonstration of game and courage against the giant of the championship that makes it clear that this surprising team, now second four points behind the leaders, has all the credentials to remain on the top of Ligue 1. Up to believing, perhaps, in the title of sample.
But it’s not for now. It shouldn’t be, in any case, believes Geoffrey Dernis, who lived this kind of adventure as magnificent as it is improbable with Montpellier in 2012. If we have called the former attacking midfielder to talk about Lensois, it is that the parallel between the two clubs, 11 years later, it’s not illegitimate. These are two strong regional realities, which have had their best seasons when they didn’t believe each other, with a coherent sporting management and players chosen to measure, in which the fans recognize each other.
“In this type of club it works when there is continuity. No big revolution in the transfer market, an intelligent group is formed around a coach who knows what he wants, corrects himself a little if needed, but that’s enough and then he turns because the players know each other and move forward together, “explains Dernis.
When the foundation is established like this and everything starts to fit together nicely, that’s when it gets interesting. “If you start a season well with a group that has been getting along and doing well for two or three years, you don’t even have any more doubts,” she continues. You play, without taking your head off, and slowly you realize that the results are good and therefore you simply continue. When I hear them talk, I hear our talk of the time. »
An observation illustrated by the words of Jonathan Gradit after PSG, for example, who asked to “continue to do what we are good at, playing together, not taking ourselves for others”, and emphasizing the group’s “superb understanding” with Franck Haise. Lens exudes something strong, powerful, reminiscent of the good old days of the glorious past. “I feel a lot of confidence and a lot of humility. They are confident in their strengths and know what they want to do. It feels like what we felt in 1998,” said French champion Yohan Lachor in The ParisianMonday.
Geoffrey Dernis tries to put this feeling into words: “There are many little things that are spinning in the right direction. Games you’re less good at but end up winning, and then with every slap you take, it finally puts you back on the right track. I really don’t know how to explain it, but you’re also not afraid that it will reveal itself at some point. We never wondered if we lost three or four games in a row what it would give us. »
Not wanting to play at the PSG court
Prompted by this mood, the group is silently forging ahead, inflating ambitions as steps are taken. “There are indicators. For me in 2012 it was the victory in La Mosson against Saint-Etienne (29th matchday, end of March), recalls the former left-handed player. We won 1-0 in a complicated game, following a crazy goal from Giroud at the end of the match. After that game I said to myself “damn, this year we can’t not take something”. First it’s the top five, then with five games to go it’s the Champions League, then with three games to go it’s the title. “All this while avoiding zieuter classification too closely to avoid knots in the brain.
These signals, for Lens, could be the away match in Lyon in February, the derby against Losc in March or the rematch at the Parc des Princes in April. In the meantime, the northerners intend to stay in their place, as Franck Haise recalled on Saturday evening after singing the victory song with the fans. “Our goal is to keep doing what we’re doing, whatever the opponent. We continue to be ambitious in the game and we can have ambition. But we won’t confront Paris,” the Sang et Or coach warned. Okay, that’s exactly the trap to avoid.
“We mustn’t see each other too high up. I think PSG will be champions, because it’s yet another level, agrees Dernis. Lensois don’t have to get ahead to challenge them for the title, just to keep their runners-up position as much as possible. Then, time will tell! Everything is possible. »
In any case, the current manager of ES Pérols, a Hérault club that plays at regional level, admits that he watches the northerners with a touch of nostalgia. “Look at how the group lives, it was us in 2012, he says. You see the players very well together, they make the effort for each other on the field, they go and put things together, it’s communicative, they don’t take initiative, even in interviews there’s none. himself. What they do is beautiful. »
How far can they go? This is the question that will cheer up the second half of the championship, and not just at Pas-de-Calais. All football fans enjoy watching this team evolve, which arouses curiosity and sympathy. We will not say what portends anything, but we will conclude with two anecdotes identified during the preparation of this article: like Montpellier in 2012, Lens is playing its third season since its rise to Ligue 1. … Auxerre . Yes yes, like in 1998.