In an interview with The Team Ahead of Lille’s trip to Troyes tomorrow afternoon, defender Sven Botman has sought to view this season in a positive light despite his side’s dip in form since last year’s title-winning campaign.
“I’m not looking for excuses. Above all, we lost games stupidly. Sometimes we have been bad. We still don’t know how we drew against Metz or Saint-Étienne. Last season, we had the same problems against teams at the bottom of the table who were playing very defensively. But we are doing better in front of goal. The reality is that the spine of time has changed. We signed young and promising players, but we lost experience. The team had injuries, Xeka and Benjamin André had to play as central defenders.
“We fought for the top four but we never managed to make it a long run. We lacked consistency. There was less defensive stability. We had it again in the Champions League. We had two good games against Chelsea, but we didn’t have the qualities necessary to win against this kind of team.
“Winning against PSG in Tel Aviv [to win the Trophée des Champions, 1-0] was a special feeling. We were very disappointed to have been eliminated at the start of the Coupe de France [to Lens] – that was our goal. Then we lost a few starters. I was familiar and used to Reinildo [left-back who left for Atlético Madrid in January]. It’s never good [when they leave]. I learned a lot. Joseph [Fonte] allowed me to strive for excellence. I am grateful for that. Together, we have contributed to the defensive bedrock of the team.
“I tried to be a leader, to be more able to bring the team with me. Personally, I had never seen such a competitive mentality [before]. At the moment, we are 9th in Ligue 1. It’s not enough for Lille. We are not happy. But it hasn’t been a shitty season.