England U21 international and Manchester United Academy product Angel Gomes (22) has cemented his place as a starter at Lille OSC this season, scoring three goals and registering six assists in 37 appearances across all competitions.
In an interview with L’Équipe earlier this season, Gomes said that he could imagine himself one day returning to Manchester United, and described the club as “home.” The Englishman spoke to Get French Football News’ Luke Entwistle in the wake of Les Dogues’ 0-0 draw against AS Monaco at the Stade Louis II on Sunday, discussing his season at Lille, his new, deeper position, and his future.
How do you evaluate this draw against Monaco?
“It was a difficult game; they defended well, defended low. I think the pitch conditions didn’t help us either as the grass wasn’t watered. It’s very hot and humid here and the grass was long so we had to adapt to that and play a bit differently. It is what it is and we just have to continue fighting for the points”
Are you surprised that Monaco reverted to a back-three for this fixture given that they haven’t done so in many months?
“Yes and no. We haven’t changed the way we’ve played all season and we’re very confident in what the manager wants us to do, we’re confident in ourselves and what we need to do. We went out to do what we’ve been trying to do all season and implement that. If the other teams change the way they play, then I think that’s a credit to us. It’s football; we’re just going to try and keep going to reach our goals.”
With the chances wasted today, does it feel like a missed opportunity to close the gap to the Europa League spot?
“It’s been a thing this season not being as clinical as we should be. We’ve lacked efficiency. It’s our first year with the manager, there are fresh faces and it’s a new team so we know there is an element of being patient with the process. But in that, there are lots of games that we could have killed off. That’s in the past now, looking forward we need to keep doing what we’re doing.”
On a personal level, how have you found adapting to a slightly deeper role in Lille’s midfield this season?
“I think it’s been a positive season for me. Being involved in all of the games I think is something I challenged myself to do at the start of the season – getting into the team and staying in the team. I’m really happy about that and whatever position I’m chosen to play in, I’ll play and give my best. It happens to be a bit deeper, which I don’t mind. It suits my style of play a lot and I’ve been very happy this season.”
The race for Europe is getting tighter, with Rennes now just one point behind. Is your future at Les Dogues contingent upon a European qualification at the end of the season?
“For me, the goal is to finish in Europe, preferably Europa League for us. I feel how we’ve played this season is deserving of it. That’s dependent on us and how we finish the season. I think for the sacrifice, and the work we’ve put in, that’s the only position that we’re looking to finish in at the moment. My head is fully here in Lille and it will be until the end of the season. Anything else is out of my control and I’m focused on being here and the present.”
GFFN | Luke Entwistle