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Europa League Conference (group stage, day 1). Stade Rennais – Tottenham, Thursday (6:45 p.m.)

On paper, Tottenham appears as the big favorite of the Europa League Conference. Do you share this observation?

Of course ! Even though Tottenham came out of the Premier League top 6 last season, they’re still a formidable team. They managed to keep Harry Kane, their strong man. Now, it’s still football: in a match, anything can happen. They won their first three league games but only 1-0 each time, and last weekend they finished at ten and lost 3-0 to Crystal Palace, who had not made a terrific start to the season. .

Does Stade Rennais have a chance to win on Thursday?

Everything remains possible. I am quite optimistic for them, as long as I do not repeat the same match as against Reims. There was a big investment this summer to double all positions, except in central defense, where perhaps a player with more grip and experience is missing. It’s up to those who are here today to do it, to show qualities, spontaneity, enthusiasm… They can do it if they manage to put intensity – that, anyway, it does not scare the Premier League teams – of the desire that they manage to win the duels, to win the midfield and, above all, to score goals, to have that offensive realism that they lack . Bruno Genesio needs to find the right formula, especially offensively.

Do you think Tottenham will play this competition thoroughly and field the best possible team?

Frankly I do not know. On the one hand, a trophy remains a trophy, it is important for a team. Now they have a very important game coming up in the Premier League, against Chelsea (Sunday at 5:30 p.m.), so maybe they’ll turn it around. But even if they do run a bit, it’s still a big team. Regardless of the eleven lined up, it will be up to Rennes to play the game, to seek them as high as possible, and above all to score goals and mark the spirits. It’s the start of the season, Tottenham is not in full swing, we have to take advantage of it.

Frédéric Piquionne, here warming up behind Nicolas Anelka, has a selection for the French team. (Photo archives Toms Kalnins / EPA)

Harry Kane wanted to move to Manchester City this summer, but the transfer did not come through. Do you think he has already digested this abortive departure?

Yes, because he is one of those players with an exemplary mentality. He wanted to show his dissatisfaction at first by skipping practice, but then he saw that the crowd was behind him, he felt the club were too. Today I think it’s in the back of his mind, maybe it’s not forgotten, but given the mentality he has, he will continue to give everything for his club, I’m sure. .

His association with Son Heung-min in attack is enough to scare the Rennes defense …

There are great people all over this team! They are used to playing the European Cups, they have some experience of these competitions. Up front, there is also Bergwijn, Lucas, Reguilon who can play on one side… It may be a little lighter in defense, but it’s still very strong. After that, it’s not a team that likes to have the ball. They really like to counter and play in fast transitions, with a Kane who takes down a lot and who orientates on Son, Bergwijn or Lucas.

Rennais Stadium.  Frédéric Piquionne: “In Tottenham, there are beautiful people everywhere” – Stade Rennais
Frédéric Piquionne, here in the jersey of Olympique Lyonnais, during a Ligue 1 match against FC Lorient led by Sylvain Marchal, in August 2008. (Photo archives Patrick Tellier)

How do you see this new competition that we are discovering?

It looks like a small Europa League but there are important teams there: Tottenham, AS Roma, Rennes, Union Berlin… There are still names. I think that this competition should not be neglected, that the supporters must come to the stadium and show that there is a trophy to go and get.

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