Thierry Omeyer: 'I'm having a blast out on the court'
After Paris Saint-Germain Handball rounded out 2018 and the first half of the season with a win over Nantes (29-30), Thierry Omeyer gave his thoughts on Les Rouge et Bleu's season. Our captain also spoke about what it's like playing the last season of his career.
Psg.fr: What have you made of PSG's run in the Velux EHF Champions League so far this season?
Thierry Omeyer: It's been great! It's going how we wanted it to from the start, which is to say that we're won track to top our group. Right now, we're in first place with a three-point lead over Szeged. But there are still four matches left to play. We have to make sure we're still on top once those matches have been played.
What about in the Lidl StarLigue?
We feel that we've been making progress throughout the first half of the season. We're still unbeaten and we only dropped one point, away to Nîmes. We have turned in some great performances, like our win in Montpellier. On top of that, we've been extremely consistent.
All this despite some key injuries!
Be they long-term injuries, like for Niko (Karabatic). Or for just a few matches, like for Kim (Ekdahl du Rietz), injuries always make life difficult. You have to be able to manage these moments in a season in order to keep winning. So what we have done has been great, while often calling on the same players.
Does that mean that everyone in the squad gets along well?
Absolutely! We have a great time together. We're always happy to see each other again and to work together during matches. I think this is clear to see from the outside... Raul and Jota have also revitalised things with some new tactical ideas. It took a little while for us to adapt, but we have made progress and managed to play the way they have asked us to.
On a personal level, this is your last season as a player. How is it going?
I'm not thinking about it all the time. People have been talking about it since I announced that I would be retiring, but it was much more of a thing during pre-season and win the opening stages of the season proper. I also think about it when we travel to certain arenas. In Montpellier, for example, where I had a lot of huge experiences, or in Flensburg, as I played for their rivals. I have been saying to myself, 'this is the last time', but on a daily basis, it hasn't been bothering me. I just enjoy myself as much as possible and I'm having a real blast out on the court!
Speaking of which, how are things going out on the court?
I'm not holding back! I try to bring my skills and experience to bear for my teammates. I've been the oldest player in the squad of the teams I've played for for some time now, so I've been involved in this kind of exchange for a while. I also want the youngsters to see that, at 42 years of age, I'm still giving 200%, even in training. I think that can provide a valuable lesson.
Have you been following France's women's team, who just claimed European gold?
Absolutely, I watched all their matches! I was very happy for them. On top of everything, they were laying at home, and they managed to take advantage. I was lucky enough to go and see their semi-final. They weren't bothered by their defeat in the first match - they simply followed up with some excellent performances. I think they enjoyed playing in front of their own fans and that that helped them go all the way to the title. They showed a lot of freshness but also serenity, and it was in keeping with how they performed in the last few big competitions.
Meanwhile, the men's team will play their world championship in January…
The France team have a lot of quality, with players who play for big clubs. Not having Niko - who is a keystone in the squad - in the team will be very tough. But the other lads can step up, and with the quality they have in the squad, they can go a long way in the competition. When the France team starts a campaign, no matter who is missing, it's with the intention of going all the way.