A difficult mission. Temporarily appointed coach of the first team, Pierre Sage will have his work cut out for him this Saturday afternoon (17 p.m.), against RC Lens (Ligue 14 matchday 1), to revive Olympique Lyonnais, who are bottom of the table. But who is this virtually unknown 44-year-old technician? Answers.
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He coached the youth team of Olympique Lyonnais
It was in the summer of 2019, after a season spent as assistant to Karim Mokeddem at AS Lyon-Duchère, that Pierre Sage joined Olympique Lyonnais for the first time. The technician from Ain has been appointed head of the U16 R1 team. He held this position until December 2021, a year and a half. His time with Lyon's youngsters was remarkable, both on a sporting level - when he left, his team was at the top of its league - and on a human level. He leaves with a very nice image... This allowed him to return to Les Gones eighteen months later.
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Appointed director of the training centre last July
Last July, Pierre Sage made his return to Olympique Lyonnais. Taking advantage of the departure of former director Jean-François Vuillez - selected for the 2023-2024 promotion of the Professional Football Coaching Certificate (BEPF) with the hope of getting closer to the top level, he has been appointed technical director to ensure the transition -, the 44-year-old technician has been entrusted with the reins of the training center in order to "extend the club's training policy as well as its methodology». Important responsibilities. And a great step in his career for the man who has never hidden his desire to "coach at the best level", as he told Le Progrès in March 2021. Indeed, this is what allowed him to be appointed interim coach on Thursday, after the dismissal of Fabio Grosso.
Former assistant to Habib Beye
Between his departure and his return to Olympique Lyonnais, Pierre Sage had an interesting experience of a year and a half in the National (January 2022-June 2023), as assistant coach to Habib Beye at Red Star FC. In addition to having participated in the implementation of an attacking possession game - he did not hesitate to show certain sequences of play on his social networks - he was one of the architects of the great run of the Ile-de-France club during the 2022-2023 season (third in the standings, only two points from promotion to Ligue 2!).
A 'long' journey in amateur football
Pierre Sage began his career in amateur football. And he stayed there for many years. In various positions. He started as sports coordinator at CS Belley (2001-2003), before being appointed technical director of Plastics Vallée FC (2003-2007), then team manager of FC Bourg-Péronnas (2007-2012) with whom he also had a good run in the Coupe de France in 2012 (elimination in the knockout stages against Olympique de Marseille). In February 2013, he became manager of SO Chambéry for a few months. Finally, during the 2016-2017 season, he again held the position of team manager, but this time at CS Sedan Ardennes in the National. Varied experiences that have allowed him to shape himself.
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Inspired by Marcelo Bielsa and Pep Guardiola
Inspired - like many - by Marcelo Bielsa and Pep Guardiola, Pierre Sage advocates an attacking game, which is characterised in particular by possession of the ball. That's how he tried to get the youngsters to play at Olympique Lyonnais. And this is also how he intends to develop the first team this weekend: "My convictions are simple: I like it when the team has the ball. It will be reflected in the direction we take. The idea will be to play the match on Saturday (against RC Lens, editor's note), at all levels," he explained in a pre-match press conference on Thursday. But with only two training sessions before facing the Blood and Gold, the task is going to be complicated.