Crisis at Lyon

Our colleagues at RMC have revealed incredible details concerning the nature of the ongoing crisis at Ligue 1 side Lyon, replaying some of the events of the last seven days from in and around Les Gones’ camp.

Last week Wednesday morning at the club’s training ground Tola Vologe following their elimination from all European competitions for this season, Lyon director Bernard Lacombe brought together the players and the staff, handing each individual a letter from President Jean Michel Aulas.

The letter read:

“I have done everything for you. I have put you in the best possible conditions. The club is spending more than 100 million Euros on salaries. I need you. You need to respect Lyon, the institution and its history.”

Unfortunately, Lyon’s week was to get even worse and the letter apparently did not have the desired effect. Lyon lost at home to Montpellier in Ligue 1 on Friday night, 2-4, a stunning result for Rolland Courbis’ men who have been struggling since the start of the 2015/16 campaign.

Following that sub-par result and the dire performance that went with it, President Aulas waited 24 hours before speaking in front of the players. Before he did so, who spoke with his staff for about an hour. To both parties, Aulas reportedly said, among other things, the following:

“You need to get going now! We have been eliminated from the Champions League but we have targets in Ligue 1. We are 4th, that is not normal. I gave you pay rises, you have the keys!”

Players were shocked by Aulas’ display, according to an anonymous member of the squad: “We have never seen him like that. He was annoyed, upset. He was speaking but it seemed like he was suffering from the situation.”

During his big speech, the Lyon President bemoaned the lack of communication between the players but also the lack of communication between the players and the staff. He also asked questions of the players directly, “what solutions are you offering?”

Lyon captain Maxime Gonalons then spoke, attempting to respond to Aulas, by demanding that the players work harder in training. Alexandre Lacazette then openly criticised Hubert Fournier’s work and certain members of the staff:

“The daily work on tactics is insufficient. We need more video sessions. We do not understand our instructions. We do not know how to play with the new signings.”

Hubert Fournier responded, admitting that “there were some things missing tactically”. Crushed, Bruno Génésio, one of the few remaining members of staff that the players like, had red eyes. Some members of staff have suggested that players are regularly late for training and that players our consistently absent from the post-match dinners.

An anonymous source inside the squad has shot back: “it is not because we do not eat all together after a match that we are suddenly going to play better [if we do]…”

The Lyon manager, shocked by these events on Sunday, cut down the subsequent video session from 20 to just 5 minutes.

The former Reims boss is being isolated, even by his own staff. Fournier hardly ever speaks to Michel Audrain, the member of the coaching staff that he was closest to when he brought him to the club. That is not Fournier’s only problem inside his own team of coaches. He openly had a verbal jousting match with goalkeeping coach Joël Bats on the touchline during their Champions League encounter with Gent on Wednesday night about who was at fault for the Belgian side’s first goal.

A source close to the club had the following to say:

“Today, the players no longer believe in the staff… It has reached a point of no return.”

Another anonymous player from inside the Lyon squad added:

“We feel there is a split between the coach and ourselves. The communication on a daily basis has been reduced to a strict minimum. The different groups within the team are becoming more obvious, notably between the most recent signings and those who grew up through the club.”

“Last season, everyone was at 120% during each training session… Today they train at not even 60%. But the staff has also let go since last season. There is a lack of rigour on a daily basis,” according to a source close to Lyon’s training ground.

Is it time for Fournier to go? A Lyon player had the following to say on the matter:

“We feel like we are no longer advancing. We need an electric shock in the dressing room. Thankfully the President is there to talk to us because what the coach is saying no longer works.”

Stunning revelations from a club in a state of emergency.

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