Samuel Umtiti joined LOSC Lille this summer after a tumultuous spell at FC Barcelona. The Frenchman, who has suffered many injuries, is not back to the level he was when he arrived at the club, but he wants to start a prosperous period at Lille having left behind "the bitterness that prevented me from moving forward", as he said in an interview with 'L'Equipé'.
On his physical condition, and after playing two games (at Rennes and against Ljubljana), Umtiti said he felt "better, I really need to play more games. I was two weeks late in the preparation, then I had a small injury (psoas), I had to get into the rhythm of the group. We did a good job with the staff. Now only the matches will allow me to get back into this rhythm. But I feel better and better."
Umtiti missed the start of the season due to injury. "I was very focused on a personal level to come back well, to treat my small injury and to have a good feeling. Then I am a person who likes a lot to give advice, to discuss, either with the staff or with the players, to know how each one thinks, on an occasion, an event of the game, to be able to do better. Even during the time I was injured, I had the opportunity to talk to all the players. And even more so now that I've been able to spin matches. I feel listened to, it's a very concerned group, they want to progress, it's quite easy to have conversations to move forward and progress," he said.
As for his difficult seasons, the defender noted that he was reborn last year. "Compared to everything I've experienced, I know exactly where I want to go, what I have to do to get there. We play football to hit as high as possible. Then there are stages, I don't want to skip them at all, that's very clear to me. I want to settle in a club that suits me, to do good things and for people to see my qualities. There will be stages, play a series of matches, do well, then the rest will come. I had some very good years in this blue shirt, but at the moment it's really Lille, putting in good performances, winning games...".
The defender pointed out what had been his most difficult moment in recent seasons: "There are very difficult moments that I have lived through but, honestly, they are behind me now. I worked a lot on this because I had a lot of resentment, a lot of things inside me and in the end it didn't let me move forward. That's life, I understood that in a career there are ups and downs, things that happen, some of which I can't handle on my own. We adapt to the situation, that's how it is now. It's a message I pass on to the young players: we really have to live in the present moment, do our best, realise that we have the opportunity to do an incredible job and, when we are in good health, we really have to take advantage of it.
For the future, Umtiti spoke about the match against Reims on Tuesday: "They have a good coach (Will Still), a tactician, who likes to make it difficult for his opponents by adapting a bit to the team he is facing, sometimes changing the position of his players a bit. That's good. These are things you don't do very often, few coaches dare to do what he does. I love having a team like that. We work well to try to find their weak points and see where they gave us difficulties last season. We have two good tacticians, we'll see which team will do better".
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