Claude Puel is currently out of work, but he’s not having such a tough time of it.
This week the Frenchman has been in Monaco, relaxing and popping into the local football club to have a chat with the coaches there.
It would be understandable if the manager is a little bruised after his experience in English football. He didn’t do a particularly bad job at either Southampton or Leicester City but fans of both clubs turned against him to at least some degree.
There was a personality and communication issue with players, fans and the media, and if that hadn’t been the case perhaps he’d still be in the Premier League.
Speaking to L’Equipe, Puel was asked if he had an image problem in England, and replied: “I arrived there (at Southampton) thanks to my results in France, my show in the Champions League (with Lille and Lyon) and the development of players. I was taken for what I could bring in the development of a team’s game. But you have to bring something else, an image for the fans and the media.”
Asked if he’s bitter that his spells at Southampton and Leicester ended badly, Puel insisted otherwise and explained how hard it is to stay in a Premier League job: “One year in the Premier League is already very good. Conte arrived at Chelsea with a pedigree behind him, he was coach of Italy, he won a championship and a cup and Chelsea didn’t keep him. Same with (Manuel) Pellegrini, when he was sacked from Manchester City.
“Here, it’s very strong. Even when you won a European Cup, you get fired. It’s part of the game. Three bad matches can be enough to annoy the owner. It’s the short term that interests them, not how the coach thought about winning this game. We must try to match the development of the team and the players with the short term. But we all know that there is a gap. Look at the renewal of coaching in England. Except Klopp or Guardiola, who arrive with a staff and a track record and who have more time, nobody is safe.”
The French newspaper put it to Puel that he couldn’t speak English fluently when he first arrived to manage in the country, and asked if that was an issue: “When I arrived in Southampton, it was difficult to find the words and to get the messages over, in the feeling and the sensations I had trouble. But, the last six months in Southampton, then in Leicester, there have not been any particular problems. I mastered the essential and I managed to get what I want.”