After Manu Dos Santos yesterday, it is Gaël Givet’s turn to share with us his derby memories three days before the 99th clash in the first division between Les Aiglons and our Monegasques. During his long career, the former center-back, who is today Frédéric Barilaro’s assistant with the U19s, took part in eight clashes between AS Monaco and OGC Nice. Derby memories with Gaël Givet!
Gaël, what comes to mind if I say the word “derby”?
These are memories that go back a very long time (smiles). I have a few moments that come immediately to me though such as the last one I played at home in the league (November 4, 2006). It was 0-0 and I conceded a penalty, but Flavio Roma stopped it. I also remember the one we won in Nice with goals from Dado Prso and Ludovic Giuly (April 30, 2004). As well, I remember a match where we conceded a goal by Ederson on a strike from 40 yards (February 26, 2005). Finally, there is one more that comes back to me, where we drew because Toto Squillaci was called for a handball in the last minutes of the match (January 21, 2004).
Is there one that stands out a little more than the others?
It has to be the one we won, 2-1. It’s a good memory. Winning the derbies is always fun, because we know it’s an important game for the fans. After that, the one where I made a big mistake and conceded the penalty in the dying minutes, that’s also striking. Flavio Roma saved us and it really could have been a disaster for me. I was relieved, because losing the derby and being at fault would have hurt me.
What had happened to Victor Agali on October 2, 2004?
The Nice striker played the match of his life. I don’t think he scored a lot of goals in the season afterwards. We lead 3-0 at the break, and they came back to 3-1 then 3-2. I came off just after, because Patrice Evra hit the ball into my head in trying to clear the ball. It was a miscommunication between him and I which made my memories of the end of the match rather vague, because I was groggy.
We spoke as well yesterday with Manu Dos Santos another match that did not turn out in your favor, on February 7, 2006 — the semifinal of the Coupe de la Ligue.
In the Nice goal, Hugo Lloris was at the very beginning of his career. He played a crazy match because we had dominated and had a lot of chances. I definitley remember seeing a player who would become a French international making a lot of stops. And we were punished. We often got beaten like that in derbies. It is not a good memory because it prevented us from going to the Stade de France. We lacked good finishing.
How do you feel after this type of defeat?
It’s really difficult. These are derbies, so in everyday life, we inevitably met people in Monaco who were supporters of OGCN, so we got a little ribbing, even if it’s true that at the time, there was no social media and it was thus less strong than today. Being ahead 3-0 and losing 4-3 only happens once in a lifetime. Unfortunately, it was against us, and for the fnas we knew it was an important moment. We felt a little ashamed and humiliated to lose in this way. It’s already difficult in a normal match, but in a derby, it hurts even more.
When you wear the colors of another club, did playing against the Gym always have a particular flavor?
If I reflect on my time at AS Monaco, playing Nice, it was always a big meeting. We immediately circled the date on the calendar, whether it was the match at the Stade Louis-II or the Stade du Ray, which was also a stadium that had enormous fervor and always a great atmosphere.
When you were coming through at AS Monaco, how did you view OGC Nice?
Nice was a club with values that spoke to me. There were players with a strong temperament like Cyril Rool, Florent Balmont, Sammy Traoré, Cédric Varrault or Pancho Abardonado. I recognized myself in these kinds of clubs, but I didn’t see myself being transferred there just after playing for AS Monaco.
Do you have an anecdote to tell our readers, a derby story that you remember in particular?
If I dig into my memories I remember a derby where things got hot-tempered at the end of the match between Julien Rodriguez and Sammy Traoré, who both were sent off. A few days later, we were at a party with some Nice players, and seeing these two players arm in arm and singing together, it was funny. With the Niçois, there was a real rivalry on the pitch, but that didn’t prevent us from being friends and getting along well.
If we now speak in the present tense. You won 4-3 a few weeks ago in the derby against OGC Nice with the U19s. Does it also have a special flavor, to win against the Gym as a coach?
For AS Monaco as for Nice, it is a very important match that must be won. If we talk about that last game, it really wasn’t our best performance of the season and I don’t necessarily think we deserved to win it. We were behind 1-0 then 2-1, so we had the satisfaction of never giving up and going on to create chances for ourselves to finally win 4-3. As a manager, we cannot be satisfied with only the result, even if it is true that it remains a victory in a derby — that it is a notion that we must instill in them.
How do you manage to transmit this idea of a derby to your young players, whether it’s you or Frédéric Barilaro?
We talk to them about what this match represents for the Club, for the supporters. There is a real story between the two clubs, a sporting rivalry. The derbies are meetings where there is a little more intensity, duels and that you have to put a little more. If some players are more in their heads, even if we shouldn’t, we tell them that in this type of match, we must not relax for a moment and give everything until the last second.