Daniel Narcisse: 'French handball just keeps on growing'

Two weeks out from the Trophée des Champions, which marks the beginning of the new season, Paris Saint-Germain Handball captain Daniel Narcisse spoke about the new Paris squad and all the competitions that the Rouge et Bleu will soon be contesting.

Psg.fr: When you're in the middle of your pre-season preparations, is it an advantage that the squad has remained pretty much the same?
Daniel Narcisse: Yes, of course! It's always great to be able to keep up the good work with the same lads you've played with for the past few seasons. It helps our play to evolve. It was one of our strengths last season.

This season, the team welcomes two new faces (Sander Sagosen and Rodrigo Corrales). How are they settling in?
They've adapted really easily! We have a great squad and we all get along well. The new guys fit in perfectly, so there have been no difficulties. That proves that our recruiters did a good job.

And on the court?
I think that for Rodrigo, who is a 'keeper, it's a bit easier. Sander is a playmaker, so he has to adjust to a maximum of other players' games. Our philosophy is a bit different from the ones he has ben exposed to so far in his young career. But, since the beginning of our pre-season, he has shown that he's an intelligent player who can soak up a lot of information. The only other thing that can pose a real problem for him is the language: some of our names are pretty hard for him to shout out in the thick of play (laughs). But everyone smiles and knows what he means.

You and Nikola (Karabatic) play in the same position as him. Have you given him any advice? Again, he's a lad who learns fast and who knows a lot about handball. We're helping him in terms of rhythm, reflexes and understanding with his fellow players out on the court. We're also working on the language, and he's starting to say a few words in French. But the whole team is looking out to help him express his potential to the fullest.

The Velux EHF Champions League will start pretty soon. Do you think that Paris can top Group B?
Last season we had a poor start in a tough group, and for sure that's why we ended up missing out on top spot. There were quite a few teams who were capable of winning the Champions League. This year there will be all the usual suspects, so it will be just as tough as ever. We'll look to take a maximum of points right from the off. 

The campaign will kick off against Kiel. Is that an advantage?
No two seasons are the same, but we can try to learn our lessons from last year. We lost points when we played away to them, but we controlled the match well. But even had we won, we weren't certain of finishing on top as there were still plenty of matches left to play. We'll need to be more consistent in terms of our level of play in order to reach our objectives.