Michel Der Zakarian on Brest’s winning streak: “The squad is showing it has character.”

In an interview published in today’s L’Équipe, Brest manager Michel Der Zakarian notably discusses how he has turned his team’s form around to go on a spectacular 6-match winning streak.

On whether he is suprrised about the winning streak after a bad start to the season

In football, nothing surprises me anymore. It depends on how everyone is invested and their quality. We are defending better collectively, and offensively we have players who can break through and offer support, who can score at any time. And that’s what’s been happening since the start of the season.

On how he turned things around

We did video sessions, individually. A lot of players don’t watch the games. Today’s generation forgets very, very quickly. They have to understand that watching yourself play allows you to progress. You can also show them videos of great players in their position, in teams from big leagues. I’ve always worked like that with my staff. Seeing things sometimes hits harder than words.

On whether it was a mental problem beforehand

The squad is now showing it has character, in order to pull off a winning streak like this. Playing at a high level is about being able to go on a run. It’s often psychological. How you approach a competition is important. We were lacking in every department. Everyone raised their level. With rigour and good collective work, we got success – and the individual talents began to shine.

On going from a 4-2-3-1 to a 4-4-2

The players had a few more reference points in that system and it gave us some positive momentum. Everyone labels me as a defensive manager, even though we play with 4 forwards. Up front, it’s better for Steve Mounié to have a player near him with whom he can combine. And Jérémy Le Douaron is a lot more efficient in the middle. Haris Belkebla is less spread out when in the middle, he’s more disciplined, recovers better balls and plays more in tune. At the back, Jean-Kévin Duverne, who was transparent before, has had several good games as a left-back. And since his return, Christophe Hérelle complemenets Brendan Chardonnet well in the middle.

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