Will Bruno Genesio become a respected coach in Brittany?

“The results he had in Lyon were very good. Unfortunately, he was discriminated against almost immediately when he took the first team. I feel that everything that happened was on the order of crime of facies. “Three years after the divorce between OL and Bruno Genesio, Florian Maurice did not pass up the opportunity to revive a topic that is still tense on RMC Sport: was the long stint of the Rennes coach wrongly seen in Lyon? A few days before a decisive OL-Stade Rennais in the race for Europe, this Sunday (5:05 p.m.), the Breton sports director has “rewritten history”, many Lyon supporters blame.

Because the facts are there: apart from five brilliant first months from January to May 2016 (from 9th to 2nd place), OL with Bruno Genesio is never guaranteed direct qualification for the Champions League (4th in 2017, 3rd in 2018 and 2019) ). He did not reach a cup final. And his greatest achievement remains this half of the Europa League that he lost to Ajax Amsterdam in 2017 (1-4, 3-1). A “very good” record despite seasons of leading players of the caliber Lacazette, Tolisso, Fekir, Ndombele, Mendy and Depay?

At OL, Bruno Genesio could count on Corentin Tolisso until his departure to Bayern Munich in 2017. – PHILIPPE DESMAZES / AFP

“In Lyon, it was mainly aimed at the sum of individuals”

A brilliant winner in the first leg after a benchmark match (4-1), the interested side will play its first encounter on the counter bench in Parc OL this Sunday. Like the current run of three consecutive successes in Ligue 1, has Stade Rennais (4th and second best offense in the championship) not allowed him to become a much more respected coach? “I think Bruno Genesio already argued for the same attacking and collective play in Lyon, but his message was not understood so well by his players, says the former midfielder of the two clubs Gaël Danic. There he mainly appealed to a sum of individuals who were more focused on their personal career than on the collective, as is the case with Stade Rennais.”

Hard to prove him wrong when we think back to the trio of sometimes frenzied individualists Depay-Diaz-Traoré, a kind of absolute antithesis of the henchmen Bourigeaud, Majer, Terrier and Laborde. During his two seasons in Lyon, from 2013 to 2015, Gaël Danic evolved under the command of Bruno Genesio, then assistant to Rémi Garde and then to Hubert Fournier.

He provided all the training. In fact it was a real number one bis. He often intervened and tried to keep all the players in the squad involved. We soon had the feeling that what inhabited him was show football, that he would rather win 4-3 than 1-0. †

Bruno always wanted us to play like Barça

An obvious football sensibility shared with us by Said Mehamha, his former midfielder with OL’s reserve (in 2010-2011), before facing Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City in September 2018: “Bruno always wanted us to play like Barca. The 4-3-3 of the Guardiola era was an obsession for him. We sometimes had video sessions with Bruno, not on our opponent in National 2, but on Barça game sequences”. A supposed model, to the systematic use of 4- 3-3 at the end of the 2015-2016 season cannonballed after Hubert Fournier’s sacking, climaxing with a 6-1 against AS Monaco, quickly earning him this derisive nickname of “Pep” Genesio with Lyon tweeters .

Although he broke the record for goals (2.3 average) scored by OL over a Ligue 1 season in 2017-2018 (including by Grand Lyon in the 2000s), for the most part, supporters are not nostalgic for his three and half a year on the couch in Lyon. “He was a great leader of men who knew how to make short hits, but who proved unable to structurally help our club,” Vincent said. Our matches were completely garbled and were saved by individuals such as Memphis Depay’s hat-trick to take third place on the final day (3-2) in 2018. †

Bruno is an underside coach

Not everything was perfect in Rennes this season, but the result is much clearer and calmer. The SRFC coach managed to put down a slick collective game that made a strong impression throughout European football. “I still think Bruno is an underside coach. He has had exploits in the past, but he was criticized too quickly. He is a coach who loves the beautiful attacking game. His goal is for his team to create as many opportunities as possible. to put the opponent in trouble,” said Alexandre Kerveillant, video analyst for Genesio during his one and a half season at the head of Beijing Guoan (China), d August 2019 to January 2021.

In a year on the Rennes bench, the 55-year-old former OL coach could rely on the tactical foundation laid by Julien Stéphan and his high pressure to carefully put his foot there. “Bruno likes the one-two, the passing circuits playing two, three, with players who don’t hesitate to leave. It evolves with the workforce. He has very good sides there [Meling et Traoré] so he trusts to bear the danger,” continues his former deputy.

“We can play together with our eyes closed”

To back his point, whoever is now stationed at FC Sion (Switzerland) has a concrete argument: “Since Bruno left, Lyon has experienced periods of turbulence with much more frequent changes of coach, without ever finding the right formula.” . With his total football, Genesio also takes the risk of discovering his wings when his side plays high. But there too he found the parade by pushing Benjamin Bourigeaud back or by shifting a recovering midfielder, often Baptiste Santamaria. One of the managers of this organization, Benjamin Bourigeaud, talks about the contribution of the Genesio touch.

“These are things we’ve been working on since the start of the season. Our mood means we can dezone, we know we will be compensated behind. It is a collective work that we do every day. This state of mind allows us to play together with our eyes closed. This is our strength.”

A supporter of “preventive marking”

“We sometimes talk about organized disorganization. It’s a game where the tactical system and the positions don’t say much anymore. Each time a player clears space to attack the line, another player must compensate. Manchester City, for example, is doing very well,” explains Luigi Renna, tactics specialist and author of the book. Football and game project

Often inspired by Pep Guardiola’s method, Bruno Genesio has also become a follower of “preemptive marking”, which consists in anticipating the loss of the ball in order to counter the opponent very quickly and very high. Obsessed with a tactic called “playing position” or “game of chance”, Genesio has his players repeat collective sequences during training.

During the match between Rennes-Brest (2-0) last month, Gaëtan Laborde scored after an exuberant collective action.  Five players are then in the other area, plus Santamaria on the edge.
During the match between Rennes-Brest (2-0) last month, Gaëtan Laborde scored after an exuberant collective action. Five players are then in the other area, plus Santamaria on the edge. – Youtube screenshot

‘If things go wrong with him, it’s violent’

“It is a demanding plan, which takes time to be assimilated and accepted by the players,” Renna continues. Perhaps he hadn’t had time in Lyon to work out his ideas. The context was not the same as in Rennes.” The team must then be able to vary their rhythm of play, sometimes delaying possession at the risk of appearing shy in order to accelerate better and break the lines. But when they project themselves, Rennes’ team does so in numbers, as seen in the screenshot above, with six dangerous players.

A revealing snapshot of the spectacular dimension that a group of Bruno Genesio inhabits, but also of the tactical credibility he is fully acquiring with his second position at the head of an elite European club. “It is clear that Genesio is currently much more advanced than in Lyon, acknowledges Vincent, our Lyon supporter. But I encourage the people of Rennes not to cheer too much, because if he goes wrong, it is violent. Besides, they were not eliminated in the Coupe de France on the 20th in Ligue 2 [à Nancy en 16es de finale] when they defied PSG and OL? That is So Heal that…”