Finals of the 14 Best Montpellier-Castres, “I Tell My Players I Love Them!”

Before the final of the Montpellier-Castres rugby top 14 this Friday night at the Stade de France, Mohed Altrad, the president of MHR, was a guest of France Bleu Hérault.

What makes Montpellier able to win today when the club has already missed the coronation twice?

Stories, sometimes they repeat themselves, sometimes they do not. So I hope it does not happen again for us. Why ? For we had a completely regular season, completely strong, solid, clean. So we think that remains an argument. And this state of mind follows us today as closely as possible. The other thing is that in 2018 there was a team. Today, there is virtually no player from this team there, except Benoît Paillaugue, who was injured at the time and could not play. And he is not going to play tonight, but on the other hand he is with, he is accompanied. It is our soul and our motivation.

Love calls love, I tell them I love them too

And precisely, you are talking about soul, about motivation. We also say that the group is different, that it has evolved, and that there is a real family spirit?

It is an extremely close-knit group. In this team, I feel a family spirit, a very strong spirit, a spirit of solidarity. I have the impression that they love each other and that this love is the essential part of this kind of important event. You may have hundreds of millions of people around the world watching this game. Love, calls love. I also said to them, I love them.

There is an osmosis that has been created

You say you’re fine with the coaches now. It was sometimes a little more complicated with the previous coaches. What makes it work with Philippe Saint-André, Jean-Baptiste Elissalde and Olivier Azam?

There was something very strong, almost from the start with Philippe Saint-André, who brought a staff in the form of Jean-Baptiste Elissalde and Olivier Adam and other coaches, especially the international referee who is also the coach. It’s a whole group. And once again since our complicated season, last year, I got into the habit of not staying, like the majority of presidents, in what is called the basket to watch the matches. I stay with them on the substitute bench and I live with them. I go to the hotel with the match day, I participate in everything. So I have created something very strong, I hope. But that does not mean it is a guarantee of victory. But we are very strong. We are very strong in our beliefs. We are very strong in our relationship and a kind of osmosis has really been created. We have to fight tonight and we hope to be rewarded and bring something to Montpellier tomorrow early.

MHR still seems to be an unloved club, poorly considered and sometimes not recognized for its fair value by the rugby world. How do you explain that?

But I do not think so. I have the very strong impression that things are really changing. It is evolving, it will evolve in the right direction in the future. Montpellier is a short story. It is the youngest club compared to others such as Castres, more than a century or Clermont and so on. So we build our lives and and it takes time and we can make mistakes, we make mistakes. But if you look at the development of this club since I took it over in 2011, then we have come a long way. There was an institution that was not solidified, solid, In the eleven years I have been there, we have been to the finals three times!

Humility is knowing your strengths to improve your weaknesses

The pressure is growing, I know you’re not superstitious. You’re not the type to put a rock in your pocket or have a favorite costume. But how will you handle this pressure?

We assess that we are ready and that we still have to fight. And you will see it and we will be very present. But at the same time you know and it requires a lot of humility. Humility is knowing your limits, and we know our strengths and weaknesses. We will play on our strengths to improve our weaknesses.

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