Ligue 1: how the MHSC built its crucial success on the Nice pitch and stopped its poor streak

Ligue 1: how the MHSC built its crucial success on the Nice pitch and stopped its poor streak

Solidaires, réalistes et bien aidés par un banc enfin au diapason, Sylla et les Montpelliérains se sont libérés d’un poids, vendredi à Nice. MAXPPP – Serge Haouzi

By winning in Nice (1-2), Friday March 8, the MHSC offered itself a respite at the end of the tense season. Even if nothing is played.

"Find a little smile again, it feels good." The words of President Laurent Nicollin in the cloakroom of the MHSC, Friday after the success in Nice (1-2), did not lie. Visible thanks to the club's video, unlike his speech on Wednesday, in the privacy of Grammont, they expressed the full significance of this success.

By winning in a duel of sick people, Montpellier HSC has not forgotten everything and has not yet saved anything. But he offered himself a respite. In a week, it will be Paris at La Mosson and another story. In the meantime, with this “shush” to disaster rather than yet another fall, Michel Der Zakarian and his men have shown themselves the path to follow during the last nine days.

"We found a real team"…

On Friday, the people of Hérault got their hands on the instructions for use. In the 4-2-3-1 concocted by Der Zak, with Jordan Ferri lower than against Strasbourg (2-2), Montpellier became a block again. "Everyone works for the team, makes efforts for the team, that's the basis", appreciated the pailladin coach.

He obviously didn't taste everything. But "we found a real team", he decided, the true moral of this evening in Nice. And at the same time, a reminder of what was missing. A glaring and chronic gap, which had questioned the desire of this group to get through it together. He answered it, on the Côte d’Azur. "We were able to show that we were hungry and that we weren't going to give up until the end", summarized Joris Chotard.

… And a defense too

Fourteen goals conceded in six matches, including four against the same Gym in the Cup (1-4): the defense had cracked in recent weeks. At the Allianz Riviera, she also found herself, despite this avoidable opposing goal.

"To win, you have to defend well. When you have a team that fights together, defends well, we are able to create situations, which we did well this evening", analyzed the&rsquo ;Montpellier coach. From which the weight of Becir Omeragic will once again not have escaped.

League 1 results and standings

Returning from a foot injury, the Swiss gave the impression of improving a “Kiki” Kouyaté feverish recently. At his side, the Malian can concentrate on his sector: the duel. Even if it’s in his style, always on the limit.

With him, Benjamin Lecomte, author of two decisive saves, or Christopher Jullien also gave some “pep” at a rearguard where Issiaga Sylla shines, even if he forgot Laborde on the equalizer, Friday.

Coming home well

His rage, at the final whistle, was one of the images of the evening. Entering at the break, in place of an affected Chotard, and author of an exemplary second half in the engagement, Léo Leroy symbolized the contribution of the bench on Friday. And a rarity this season.

Even if still no goal has been scored by a substitute since August, the contribution to Nice of Leroy but also of Enzo Tchato, who entered in the 13th minute, or by Jullien proved to be considerable.

Khazri, the best for last ?

While Mousa Tamari marks time, handicapped by his shoulder or blunted by the Asian Cup, Wahbi Khazri is definitely disorienting. Dismissed by his coach against Metz and in Marseille, the ex-Tunisian international left for an anonymous end to the season.

His entry against Strasbourg had given an opposite trend and confirmed the different state of mind observed internally. Established at the forefront in Nice, he persisted, in his efforts but also through his experience, even his vice in hot moments, until causing the penalty.

"We always expect from everyone. Not just from Khazri. Everyone needs to raise their level of play", Der Zak evaded. But the former Stéphanois could well have scored real points, while his credit seemed exhausted.

The “routourne”turned?

Coming out of the draw against Strasbourg, a week ago, the scoumoune were a companion in misfortune well attached to the MHSC. Did she disappear to Nice ? We'll have to wait.

"I know that there are periods when the penalty would not have been whistled", Chotard wanted to believe. "It’s good to have a little success too. But we provoked her, that's what's interesting", underlined Der Zak. Who knows the importance of this factor in the final sprint.

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