‘I’m delighted to come back here’ – Julien Stéphan opens up on his return to management at Rennes

Julien Stéphan has been officially appointed Rennes manager on Sunday. The son of France’s national team assistant coach Guy Stéphan has returned to Stade Rennais, where he presided over Les Rouge et Noir from 2018 to 2021. Stéphan brought the 2019 Coupe de France and a first-ever Champions League qualification to the Brittany side during this tenure. Two years ago, he resigned due to his failure to address the struggles Rennes bumped into during the 2020-2021 season – a decision he has long regretted.

Stéphan then took over Strasbourg, leading the Alsatians to an impressive 6th place. However, his second season turned sour and he was dismissed with the team handing for a relegation scrap. Now, Stéphan has replaced the man who took over from him in the Roazhon Park hot seat – Bruno Genesio. As reported by Get French Football News, it was Genesio who decided his time at Rennes was up, feeling he was no longer up to the challenge faced this season. Rennes president Olivier Cloarec confirmed indeed that the former OL manager felt fatigue and weariness. “The batteries weren’t fully charged.” Meanwhile, Rennes Sporting Director Florian Maurice is also expected to depart.

“Determined and re-energised”

During his press conference, attended by Get French Football News, this Monday afternoon at Roazhon Park, Stéphan lauded the tenure of his predecessor. “I would sincerely like to commend and congratulate Bruno Genesio“, Stéphan said. “I thoroughly enjoyed watching Stade Rennais games recently. It’s up to us to ensure his work bears further fruit. Thank you Bruno for everything you have done at Stade Rennais.

Stéphan has been out of a job since January and his dismissal from Strasbourg. He was one of the coaches considered by the French FA to replace Sylvain Ripoll as head of France U21 national team. Thierry Henry eventually got the nod. “I’m delighted to come back here“, added Stéphan. “After ten months of inactivity, I’m determined and re-energised. I want to thank the Pinault family – the club’s owners – and club president Olivier Cloarec for the opportunity to coach this beautiful football club. Since yesterday, I feel the support from everyone and that motivates me to rise to the challenge.

Rennes are only 13th after a dismal start to the Ligue 1 season, although they are top of their Europa League group. Les Rouge et Noir will host Reims this Sunday at Roazhon Park.

GFFN | Bastien Cheval

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