Louis Sahan on Mitrovic’s “aura” և “Injury” from leaving Fulham to Manchester United

Staying on top of everything in football is not as easy as it used to be for Louis Saha.

The former French striker has mentioned Manchester, London and Paris as his last directions of work when he speaks Athletic Zoom in on the last 15 years from his home in the south of France near Cannes.

“I do not even take the time to read.” he laughs before being reminded that he once said he hoped to make an animated film for children. “Thank you for reminding me of that.”

But even someone as busy as Saha found it difficult not to be captivated FulhamElectric 2021-22 season under Marco Silva, as a result of which his first permanent English club returned Premier League: և securing their first league title since the Saha era two decades ago.

“The statistics are incredible,” he says. “The difficult part, obviously, will be in the Premier League. He was happy to watch the championship. Not only the goals but also the charm they had in front of them. All the midfielders are young, but those who have been just as famous or successful in the past.

“It may come as a surprise (next season) as these players have the level to shine in the Premier League.”

Sahan knows a few things about winning leagues in Fulham shirt. He was the star of Jean Tigana’s title team in the second division of 2000-01, then known as the First Division, which was known for surpassing rivals in its style of attacking football. They scored 101 points in 46 games, in general, Silva “Fulham” could not repeat that much in the 2021-22 season.

The current harvest, however, worked better in front of goal, scoring 106 goals against the team in the 2000-01 season. He was the leader last season. Alexander MitrovichThe most prolific striker in this corner of West London after Saha.

“He is very impressive,” says Sahan. “You ask any striker (և) it’s about goals. But he has an aura where he feels he knows he’s going to score.

“You know that if he eats right, he is going to score, because he predicts the mistakes of the defenders, he predicts the tricks of his own players. He predicts the pace that the team needs. He is a very dedicated player, a very smart guy. You always need that kind of arrogance when you play at the top.

“She has all the qualities. He can hold the ball, he can roll it և be the guy who can surprise you with a trick, because his touches are very good. “Not having the fastest speed, he is still very dangerous in all aspects of the game.”

Mitrovic gathered Stunning 43 goals in 44 games for Fulham surpassing Saha’s 27 in 2000-2001, leading the Frenchman to the club’s all-time top scorers list (96 goals against 63).

The two players were very different in style. Sahan was a fast athlete, always able to escape on the blind side of the marker, as well as jump impressively to attack the balloons. But both instilled fear in the hearts of the defenders.

“It’s a combination of your features,” Sahan said. “Speed, strength or end or whatever. And you can somehow optimize those elements և to make sure you are always dangerous. You know you’re thinking of any defender, it’s a lot of confidence in your teammates. You know how to be very dangerous. Some may be very vocal or use body language. He got it all. “

Mitrovic tops Fulham’s promotion last season (Photo by Adam D. / PA Images Getty Images)

Mitrovic has a great relationship with manager Silva, և Saha can have a relationship. He says about Tigana. “He was huge. someone I really admire as a player (և) as a manager I trust. It was very important because I was changing my position. I used to be a winger. I wanted to play as a striker. He gave me the confidence to do it. ”

Saha knew Tigana well before joining Metz Fulham at home. “He was my agent,” he says. When he decided to go to Fulham, he said he wanted me to join the project. Obviously, he could not be my agent anymore! But he gave me the plan, the vision, և I bought it. ”

But Sahan says their relationship was so fruitful that Tigana would challenge him as much as he would.

“Mitrovic needs competition to make sure he still improves his game,” he added. “No matter what age he is, he still has to work harder to make sure he doesn’t think like that, because he scored so many goals last year, he deserves a guaranteed place.

“After scoring all my goals, Tigana asked me. “What do you think of another attacker?” So I realized that there was going to be competition. He bought players like Steve Marle to compete.

“At first I was not completely happy because I did not understand. But he made me improve. I worked harder, և because of that I became the player I became. When I look back, I say: “Okay, he took me out of my comfort zone.” That was very important. “

Sahan joined Fulham in the summer of 2000 after an unsuccessful loan deal. Newcastle In 1998-99 և initially remained Wimbledon before moving to Surrey, Epsom, and later to Barnsey Harrods, on the River Thames, west London.

He enjoyed learning English, he was assisted by the club’s French-speaking contingent, including Tigana, his assistants Christian Damiano, Roger Propos, and Luis Boa Morten.

Boa Morte has now returned to Craven Cottage as Silva’s assistant, drawing a straight line between the past and the present.

“He is someone I really admire, because he has always maintained his positive attitude, his madness, always his smile,” says Sahan, who keeps in touch with his old teammate. “Amazing boy, very deadly honest.

“I was not surprised (to see Boa Morte become a coach). He is the kind of guy who is easygoing, always makes fun of you, makes you feel comfortable. This is really possible, especially when you sometimes have a manager who has to be given over to the players. He will be the second number to do so, as he can be aggressive. He could say what you do not like. All these features were natural for him. ”

Boa Morten, a naughty, miserable Sahan, believes Fulham should have him in their squad next season if they want to avoid another quick comeback. EFL:.

“Fulham is a good club, a family club,” he said. “But there has to be a bit of aggression, not dirty, but it can be scrap. And win tough games. Like: Liverpool: “It’s difficult to play against them now, but they have skilled players.”

Saha Fulham

In 2001, Sahan played for future club Fulham against Manchester United (Photo by Mark Leech / Getty Images)

In all the second division tournaments, Sahan scored 27 goals և 32 goals from 48 matches. He was promoted to the Premier League and immediately impressed the Tigana champions, scoring two goals as they went down 3-2 at the start of the season. Manchester United At Old Trafford, and then again at home to win 2-0 Sunderland In the second game of Fulham. He was named the Premier League Player of the Month for that month in August, playing at that level for his first month, and eventually helped Fulham stay comfortable in the Premier League.

“It was amazing,” he says. “It was a really fun moment in our career. Competition, hard work և fun is really a rare thing in our game. So winning a cup is a gift, but scoring goals և to feel like we’re having fun at the same time is just an amazing feeling և a privilege. I valued every moment. “

Saha left Fulham for Manchester United, impressing many times against Sir Alex Ferguson’s team. The decisive game came in October 2003, when Fulham secured their first win at Old Trafford in 40 years, where Sahan shone.

“I played really well against them,” he thinks. “You had some players on the other side, like (countryman) Michael Silvestre, who told you ‘yes, the interest is real’, որոշ some of the club’s defenders tried to persuade or give weight to that move. It was nice to see. “

Fulham flew to the Premier League in 2003-04 under Chris Coleman, two points behind fourth place on New Year’s Day. Saha was in his best form, scoring 15 goals in 22 games before United signed him for ,8 12.8m.

His exit was awkward. Fulham announced that they had rejected the application in December, and the questions became very public. Saha threatened to terminate his contract, while the rumors suggested that there were disagreements with Coleman, as the club was trying to keep him. Sahan says the nature of his departure stung him.

“It comes to a point when you are frustrated, it has nothing to do with the ego,” he says. “I think it ‘s more about being told you’re going to be open, when the offer comes,’ you start at one price, և it goes to another… և you can very easily see that this opportunity can (slip) far.

“It simply came to our notice then. That was the step I wanted to take. So I kind of felt trapped. Everyone in the club obviously respected that.

“But sometimes I was misrepresented. So I was really upset because I was more than 100% committed to the club and then to the fans. So I was offended.

“I know this is normal in this area. “I do not think anyone can look back on the situation (և no) to fully understand why I left.”

The saga did not disrupt his reflections on Fulham. “I have absolutely no bad memories,” but he has concerns. The current situation of “Manchester United”.

“I think the first thing to do to really rebuild is to make sure that those who play for United understand that they have to be humble,” he said. “They have to realize that no matter what titles (they have won) or how many goals they have scored in the past, they have to understand that no one is guaranteed a place.

“From that humility you build a really strong understanding of the core value you want to spread in the game.

Manchester United

Sahan with Gary Nigil in 2006 (Photo by Alex Livesey / Getty Images)

“The style must be clear to everyone. There is no half second where you have to think left or right. (You) know that we play for the team. “The players have to have a good idea of ​​what they are being paid, or if the transfer fee is միլիոն 100 million, they are still not bigger than the club.”

Saha is now United’s ambassador է trying to help athletes as they move through their sporting lives through Axis Stars.

“It’s possible, because whether it’s trying to represent the players, protect the players, or help the players in any way, they really can’t do it with full transparency,” he said. “What we’re doing now is spreading what I’ve learned, what I’ve had as an opportunity to make sure young guys or retirees can use that without creating a barrier to actually providing expertise. advice or contact. “

However, he will follow Fulham.

“It is already difficult for Premier League clubs,” he says. “You can see Manchester United” EvertonAll these clubs are struggling to find a platform where they feel safe.

“Any club that enters the Premier League from the Championship must start really well, not have many injuries. You have to be strong mentally, but at the same time, you have to somehow bring your luck to transform your chances.

“If they find the right way to start the season, it will be interesting.”

(Top photo for Eoin Noonan / Sportsfile Web Summit via Getty Images)

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