Fabrice Abriel: "I'm back in a different role"

Former PSG player Fabrice Abriel has made his return to Paris Saint-Germain by taking over as coach of the women's team. Abriel spoke to PSG TV about his goals for the Parisiennes!

Welcome to Paris Saint-Germain! You're returning to Paris Saint-Germain as coach of the women's team to take on a new challenge. What's your first impression?

"I feel like I've been through a lot and now I'm starting with a clean slate. Being a coach also means that you have to get down to work straight away, although I also know how to savour this moment, which is a symbolic one, especially as it marks my return to this club. I'm coming back in a different role. I'm no longer a player, I'm a coach now, with certificates in my pocket. I've come here to work together and achieve the best possible results."

We can tell from your words that this is a very special time for you, having gone through the academy and played professionally in Paris, and now you're making your return wearing a new hat. This will strengthen your special bond with PSG!

"If I tell you the whole story between Paris and me, we'll have to stay here for a few days! But, yes, I was born in Suresnes in the 92 department. I signed my first contract in Marly-le-Roi and I lived in Achères. All I had to do was cross the fête des Loges to get to the Camp des Loges and the Stade Georges Lefèvre. It was at PSG where I made my first steps, did my training as a youngster and finally signed as a professional. It's where I was at the academy and played my first matches here. Paris Saint-Germain had taken over me! So coming back to enjoy a different experience is bound to be special."

Apart from the emotional side of things, what motivated you to return to Paris as a coach?

"The project. It's often said that Paris Saint-Germain is an experience to be lived. The project is ambition, it's a competitive project. We're here to win matches every weekend and win the best titles, while also making room for training. It's also a gateway to develop. I want to capitalise on what I managed to do during my previous experience and perfect it with this new challenge."

You mentioned your experience of coaching a women's team. How would you describe your philosophy of play?

"I have an involved game plan. I like to take the initiative. It means being efficient and always wanting to win the ball back quickly and establish a balance of power. I also like my team to think intelligently about situations and be able to adapt. For me, the pinnacle of management is to remain silent on the day of the match and observe what's going on and find out whether we've put everything in place, whether the team has understood, and whether they have the collective ability to adapt and find solutions. As long as we think as a team and want to do it together, we can beat anyone."

Having coached Fleury, you're obviously familiar with Paris as an opponent. How do you see the team you'll be managing from now on?

"I have my own ideas about the team and how they behave in matches. But the most important thing for the coach, and to be complete in my assessment, is to see them on a daily basis. This can be done through mini-games, through difficulties, but also through cooperation and solidarity. And the most important thing, before setting up a game plan, is to learn to live together. I need to live with them to find out how they work. I think we need to get to know each other. And I need to discover a bit more about myself too. I like starting seasons all over again from scratch. Then, I hope that everyone will be in this frame of mind of putting themselves in difficulty to achieve better results."

What are your goals as coach?

"Naturally, when you take charge of Paris Saint-Germain, the objective is to be at the top of the table, fight for the title all year round, win the Coupe de France like last season, and go as far as possible in the Champions League. I have to try and get everyone lined up so that we're in the best possible shape. And when the most important matches come around, we'll have all our strength and all the confidence we need to go far."

And finally, do you have a message for our fans who are looking forward to seeing you again?

"I think a lot of you will be getting to know me for the first time, because a lot of young supporters don't know me, even though there are still a lot of old ones! I hope we'll be able to enjoy a great adventure together, both on a human and sporting level. I know that not everything will be perfect, but if we stay focused and stick together in the face of adversity, we'll have a better chance of achieving our goals."

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