Years pass and are not alike.
After allowing Stade Rennais to win the 3rd Coupe de France in its history (48 years after the previous one) in 2019 and then to clinch a first qualification in the Champions League (3rd in Ligue 1) last year, coach Julien Stéphan, 40, resigned this weekend during a much less prolific 3rd season on the Rennes bench.
A surprising decision for one of the most promising French technicians of the moment.
Leader of Ligue 1 at the beginning of October (7th day), Stade Rennais suffered the full brunt of the physical and mental consequences of participating in a European Cup for a workforce that was not cut out to lead the League. 1 and the most prestigious of continental competitions.
The Bretons have accumulated poor performance despite a jump in December (four successes in a row).
The start of 2021 is catastrophic with only one match won in all competitions (2-1 success in Brest on January 17).
Beaten at home last Friday by Nice (2-1), Rennes (9th) remains on a series of 7 unsuccessful games (2 draws and 5 defeats) and has just chained 4 losses in a row in all competitions.
A crisis of results which pushed Julien Stéphan, aware of not finding a solution, to submit his resignation.
The leaders tried unsuccessfully to make him reverse his decision
But this gloomy 9th place in L1 is not the only reason.
Guy Stéphan's son, Didier Deschamps' assistant with the Blues, was also disappointed by the failed recruitment this summer.
In defense, the goalkeeper Alfred Gomis (Dijon) did not replace Edouard Mendy who left for Chelsea and, in attack, the Doku-Guirassy-Terrier triplet, recruited for around 50 million euros, presents a mediocre quantified record (0 goal in Ligue 1 for Doku, 4 for Guirassy and 4 for Terrier).
As for Eduardo Camavinga, 18-year-old nugget and revelation of last season (3 selections for the Blues), he no longer has the same volume of play.
"I think it's a shame to see him go but his decision is courageous," said Rolland Courbis, former Rennes coach and consultant for RMC Sport.
There was an addition of disappointments.
Despite the financial effort, has Rennes strengthened itself during the offseason?
By asking the question, we can have the answer ... Julien Stéphan had the honesty to tell his managers who trusted him: I don't feel capable of leading this group until the end of the season , I am too tired nervously.
He was disappointed by some players for their behavior or their footballing level.
Very appreciated by the Pinault family (owner of the club) and Rennes supporters, Julien Stéphan confessed this weekend to President Nicolas Holveck and sporting director Florian Maurice that he no longer had the resources to restart this team.
In his discussions with the leaders, who tried in vain to make him reverse his decision, the main interested party assured that he was leaving without claiming any compensation when his contract was due to end in June 2022.
Gourvennec and Genesio cited to replace him
Assistant coach Philippe Bizeul will therefore take over the interim this Wednesday during the 28th day of Ligue 1 in Lyon.
During the press conference on Monday, Nicolas Holveck did not give the name of Julien Stéphan's successor.
"I prefer to make my choices and not wait for coaches to come forward," he said.
For now, Phillipe Bizeul has our full confidence.
We will try to make the best decisions for the future of Stade Rennais.
A decision made in a hurry is often not a good decision.
“Since this morning, I have received 70 texts, 70 coaching proposals,” added Florian Maurice.
Two names stand out.
They are Jocelyn Gourvennec and Bruno Genesio.
The first, a former Stade Rennais player, is very popular in Brittany.
The current consultant for Canal + has coached Guingamp and Bordeaux which he took to the Europa League.
Former Olympique Lyonnais technician Bruno Genesio, free after an experience in China (Beijing Guoan), presents an interesting profile of an experienced coach capable of giving the young people of the training center a chance.
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The names of Patrick Vieira, Rémi Garde, Lucien Favre and Leonardo Jardim, all free, could also be of interest to the leaders of Rennes.
Julien Stephan, who greeted his group for the last time on Monday morning, will now take a rest.
Despite his surprise resignation, his rating remains intact with French football.
Next summer he will surely be one of the most sought-after coaches.
He could rally an ambitious club from France like Nice for example.