Sunday, October 1, 2023

Who is Toulouse, the ambitious European opponent of the Union: “The president dreams of the quarterfinals, or even more”


“Toulouse wants to move forward imposing its game.”

Carles Martínez Novell is not a new face in the Toulouse team. The club’s current coach was Montanier’s assistant last season and has maintained the same playing philosophy established by the former Standard coach. “Novell wants his team to have the ball as often as possible,” explains Sionis, although this was far from the case against Marseille or even Paris Saint-Germain. He wants to move forward imposing his game and suffering as little as possible. During the second round of the championship against PSG, Toulouse, for example, did not refuse to play and continued to advance when the team was at a disadvantage to end up tying at the end of the match.

Carles Martínez Novell has been the new coach of Toulouse since the beginning of the season. ©AFP or licensors

This offensive philosophy, however, has its limits. As Union experienced on Saturday against Genk, Toulouse opens itself up to dangerous counterattacks that can endanger the team when the opposing side is attacked too much. “Especially because Toulouse’s defense is not infallible,” continues Hugues Sionis. In transition phases, the defense can score goals because it is not very fast. The team is disciplined and intelligent because it knows when to attack and when not to attack. But sometimes you see your opponent playing their own game: in Toulouse, the team that wins the battle for possession often wins the match.”

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The return of a former Pro League

On Thursday night, a former Pro League player will return to our lawns a few weeks after leaving Belgium: on September 1, to everyone’s surprise, Aron Donnum left Standard, where he was captain, to sign a five-year contract years with the Violets. A transfer that will have left a great void on the banks of the Meuse but will have contributed 4.5 million euros plus two million bonuses to Liege’s coffers. “He is someone in whom Toulouse believes a lot and who represents the biggest transfer in the club’s recent history. For the rest, Union will have to pay attention to the young striker Thijs Dallinga, who is capable of causing damage to the Belgian defense if they give him space. The man in form is Zakaria Aboukhlal, a right winger who has already scored three goals this season. He is the offensive leader that Toulouse relies on to such an extent that the game leans much more to the right than to the left. Finally, the danger can also come from the big and strong Logan Costa, who knows how to be effective on set pieces.”

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Without forgetting the pleasant surprise called Guillaume Restes: substitute goalkeeper in the fifth division last season, the 18-year-old has been Toulouse’s great revelation since the start of the season. Very strong in his line and with good kicks, Restes also had the first selection of him with Thierry Henry’s French U21 team during the break.


“The president wants victory and nothing more against the Union.”

Qualified for the Europa League thanks to their victory in the French Cup final, Toulouse does not intend to make up for its numbers in this competition. Its president Damien Comolli is very ambitious, he who did not hesitate to fire Philippe Montanier at the end of last season when Toulouse finished twelfth instead of tenth, the initial objective, for its return to Ligue 1… “Comolli wants victory and nothing more in the face of the Union, concludes Hugues Sionis. He wants to get out of the groups and go as far as possible, that is, in the quarterfinals, or even in the semifinals or final. Liverpool, for example, are not scared and know that the other two rivals are playable. Although I’m not sure many people in Toulouse know the players in the Union team…”

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Toulouse'S Australian Midfielder #05 Denis Genreau (L) Fights For The Ball With Marseille'S French Defender #07 Jonathan Clauss (C) And Marseille'S Cameroonian Striker #24 Francois-Regis Mughe (R) During The French Soccer Match L1 Between Olympique Marseille (Om) And Toulouse Fc At The Stade Velodrome In Marseille, Southern France, On September 17, 2023. (Photo By Clement Mahoudeau / Afp)
Toulouse have only managed one league victory this season. ©AFP or licensors
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