Football. Matthieu Chevreau in Dives: “I have to take off intelligently”

Matthieu Chevreau comes from a first experience as head coach at Saint-Lô. He will accompany Philippe Clément in Dives with a view to taking over the emblematic Divais coach. ©Thibault Delafosse

After a promising season at the head of the first team of Saint-Lô, Matthieu Chevreau has decided to join SU Dives-Cabourg and Philippe Clément. The young 34-year-old coach, based in Caen, succeeds the emblematic coach Divais. He describes his arrival and his view of things.

Matthieu, why did you decide to join Dives?

If there’s one destination I didn’t expect at all in June, it was this one. The contacts are quite recent. I have had many exchanges with Philippe (Clément) over the year. Two weeks ago I felt that he wanted to tell me something. When he mentioned the subject of a possible succession and told me he wasn’t necessarily seeing anyone but me, I thought about it pretty quickly. I thought it was symbolic.

It’s about authenticity, which I advocate in my course choices and in my relationship with the players. Philippe had strong words to make me accept this beautiful and great mission. It’s a monument, Philippe. The Dive Club is a special house, but it is also a house that corresponds to what I am propagating on the ground. There’s a fervor, there’s the family side, the grinta side that I really like.

How will you perform next season?

We are going there in stages. Philippe will start to immerse me in the environment and the club. I arrive somewhere where there is a story. I will have almost all the technical and tactical part related to Philippe. Philippe wanted to step back from his position.

I will have an important order of decision in the structuring of cases, in the coordination of the staff, but always in consultation with Philippe. He is the general manager. He will decide what I can or cannot do. As for me, I have to be able to make him think about the players, about the way of doing things, about the methods. I have a great carte blanche in this.

“I sign up for the duration”

Should diving be a springboard in your coaching journey?

Philippe offered me to work together to succeed him. The sine qua none condition was that I had not signed up for a one shot. I gave him my word: if I follow him, then it will be a sign for the long term. I’m not afraid to say it. We can initially speak of a term of two and five years. To lay the necessary stones, to bring freshness and dynamism. I have to fly intelligently. It is in the long run that I will enroll.

You just graduated from the DES, which allows you to train in National 2. It may not be to stay in National 3…

As a player, I sometimes made choices that I regretted, due to a lack of maturity or a lack of insight. As a coach, there is a sequence to do things right. I want my journey to be carried out thoughtfully and intelligently. I haven’t proven anything yet in N3, even though last season went well.

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I have a lot to prove, with a panel of different players, with more experienced players, with maybe more temperamental players. Will the method I used work? I still have many insecurities. I’m quite modest about it. The steps will be performed with great care and clarity.

“To show that I am capable of doing things in a different context”

You present yourself as an ambitious coach. What could this represent in your mind?

We are not going to hide, why not take Dives to a National 2 level in the long run? If I can work smartly and maintain a positive image in the region, I may also have opportunities at a higher level, possibly further afield.

There have been requests around major projects, in a different role, at a professional level, but I still have time to do that. I still have to show in the region that I can do things in a different context.

I’ve been told that I had to leave, or that I was taking risks – even if I was naked in Saint-Lô for a whole season with a very young workforce – I’m ready to hire others, but I want to take them with much reflection and afterwards. Without a lack of ambition, of course.

What trademark do you hope to show on Dives?

I want to make my little touch felt, especially in the relational dimension with the players. I want to share things, I want the players to feel authentic about me, because I am very sincere with them, in good times and in bad. I want to forge strong bonds so that we get to the end.

“A dynamic game”

On the technical side, Philippe is waiting to review the things that I have been able to play against him this year, to play a dynamic game with a very heavy intensity, sometimes overuse of the ball, but that gives to see things on the combined game…

A lot of things that people can also like. It’s part of taking potential risks, but I think there’s a way to give diving a bit of spectacle, while keeping the fervor, the combative frame of mind. My big job will be to harmonize that with the technical and tactical side of things.

You quickly transitioned into a coaching career…

I stopped playing very quickly because I felt bloated. Very early on I felt coaching beliefs. At the end of my career, I couldn’t find myself there anymore because I didn’t feel aligned with my coaches. I had a deep desire to set up things that were very close to my heart.

I started with the U17’s and got my first diplomas very early. When the opportunity presented itself at Saint-Lô, when the reserve team broke down (sic), I decided to promote young people. Training is a hallmark in Saint-Lô. I respected the steps of my club, I also built a positive image.

[Mon départ] was a small tear, because the story should have continued. I’m a very person and I need to know where I’m going and who I’m going with. At some point I didn’t know who to go with anymore.

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