Ligue 1 (20th day). Stade Brestois – Stade Rennais, Sunday (1 p.m.)
Five goals each this season, all in the box. Does this make sense for an attacker?
Steve Mounié: Me, in my register, obviously. I’m a pivot, a surface striker, that’s my style of play. In my career, I’ve mostly scored goals in the box. I think I put only one from the outside, it was last year in England (smile).
Irvin Cardona: There are times when I’m going to have the ball on one side, and I cross without looking, because I know you’re there and with your head game, you take all the balls. Afterwards, we are told a lot to be in the box. On the crosses, if a spade in the first, the other remains behind, it is really precise.
You Irvin, it’s ten out of eleven in the area in Ligue 1 since you wear the Stade Brestois jersey …
IC: Yes, that’s it. Today, an attacker scores 90% of his goals in the opponent’s box. Outside, it’s also good, but we are asked to be present in front of the goal.
Who were your younger attacking models?
SM: Oh yeah, it’s not the same generation! Me it was more Drogba or Ronaldo, “R9”. Drogba for his instinct, his power, the aura he gave off, a guy who was there for big dates.
IC: Cavani, I love his style of play, his desire to help the team.
The goal you score in Metz by cutting a corner with a header at the near post is typically a Cavani goal …
IC: Yes, head. It’s true that he still scored a lot of goals like that.
And a current model?
SM: Olivier Giroud. For his self-sacrifice, he is a “top-player”.
IC: He is extremely undersized, his shadow work is exceptional.
SM: And not just in the shadows! He also scores.
IC: Watch the World Cup in 2018. He’s frustrated not to score, but his work for the team is huge.
Do you see yourself as surface foxes?
SM: Yes, clearly.
The shortcut is to associate a surface fox with a goal of hooking up …
SM: So I don’t mind a second! A goal is a goal.
IC: There you go!
SM: No matter how I score them, at the end of the season I will be judged on the number, not on the way. If I score 20 hang-up goals, I don’t care. We say goal of hanging up, but you have to be present! These goals, they can bring you back many points.
Can you expand?
SM: It’s part of the placement
IC: You have to be there at the right time.
SM: At each training, it works. Saying to yourself, for example, “ah, my teammate, when he comes inside, he tends to hit”. So I will follow because I know that he knocked there, at such and such a place. I am careful if the guard pushes her away.
This is the example of your recent goal against Nice …
SM: Against Nice, against Reims too.
IC: What we are asked is to always be in a good position. So there are those who will say “it’s luck”. But your goal against Nice is not easy to achieve, there is still the goalkeeper in front of you.
SM: You have to be reactive in fact. In his head, we have to repeat to ourselves, “as soon as he hits I am, as soon as he hits I am”. It is mental work.
But how do you forget about defenders?
IC: We are often behind their backs.
SM: Because I expect it, because I anticipated that the goalkeeper was going to maybe miss and that the ball would come back to me in the feet. The defender either thinks the guy is going to score or she’s going to come out. He is not paying attention. And that, precisely, is the mark of the great defenders who still are. It also happens to me to discuss with the defenders of our team to understand how they reason.
Who says surface fox also says instinctive gesture, so no time to think?
IC: An attacker who thinks too much is not good. Personally, I am like that. If I think too much, it’s bad. A player who is instinctive will score more goals than a player who is wondering. Yes, this is one of my areas for improvement, there is room for work.
SM: The instinct is to score beautiful goals, incredible goals as you have also scored this season (laughs), even if I think there is always a part of reflection. I am on the contrary of Irvin, I think, I am more in the intellectual, I try to thwart the defenders. Here, I have him in front of me, what does he not like? We do video studies before the match, but also on the pitch, how the opponent reacts to such and such an action …
SM: No, because if you want to reach a certain level in statistics, you have to be able to score in different ways. Every game requires a different palette, and that’s why we’re unpredictable this season. We have a side who has already scored three goals, we can be good in the depth, from a distance, from the head …
IC: I scored my first header this season, I’m taking your example (laughs).
Every year that’s my goal, at least ten goals. Irvin Cardona
You form the pair of attackers at Stade Brestois. Do you feel complementary?
SM: Clearly, and it goes without saying. Me the fulcrum, he the nine and a half which turns around and takes depth.
IC: We had a certain ease to get along well from the start, it’s good for everyone.
Have you set yourself a number of goals to achieve this season?
IC: Ten. Every year that’s my goal, at least ten.
SM: Yes, but I keep them to myself (laughs).
Should we judge an attacker on his statistics?
SM: I think it’s good to judge by statistics. We are forwards, it’s our main role to score.
IC: I agree.
He does not make you want Franck Honorat with his strikes of 25-30 meters which arrive in full skylight?
IC: He scores great goals, we’re happy for him, but everyone has their own way of scoring.
SM: Above all, to score this kind of goal, you have to be in the right position. It’s rare that I find myself in this shooting position because, precisely, we are in the box to weigh on the defenses.
IC: Our calls also open up spaces for other players. Franck’s goal against Reims, I make a call, a defender follows me and that allows Franck to come in to strike. I’m not saying it’s thanks to me, be careful, but it opens up a new solution.
It’s shadow work …
SM: Playing without a ball is 99% of football. You have to be constantly in motion, which behind will allow the shift, therefore actions, and therefore goals.
IC: Those who don’t necessarily understand football, they don’t watch it. The others see that this shadow work is very useful.
Against Rennes, Sunday, what will make the difference against central defenders Aguerd and Da Silva
IC: They are players who talk to each other a lot on the pitch, they are very hard on the man but maybe also lack a little speed.
SM: And we didn’t play enough on that in the first leg. We will see this weekend if we have improved (laughs).
Injured, Da Silva is forfeited for the trip to Brest and should be replaced by Nyamsi
All the news from Stade Brestois