LE BALLON – Former Nantes players remember Sérgio Conceição: from the “military regime” to a certain “madness” (FC Porto)

Almost six years have passed, but there are things that memory does not forget. Let say some players who were trained by Sérgio Conceição in Nantes, during the stay of the FC Porto coach at the French club, between December 8, 2016 and June 30, 2017. This Wednesday, the Dragons receive Lyon, for the match go from the round of 16 of the Europa League, and the RMC Sport television channel sought to get to know the blue and white manager better, based on the testimonies of some former footballers of the club of the sixth city of France.

“It was almost a military regime. Sometimes we went to the locker room to train and he made us wait an hour or two and then he called us, suddenly he whistled, and then we knew that training was going to start. It was like that for two or three weeks. We commented: ‘it’s not possible, we can’t go on like this, it’s too rigid’. But we understood what he was trying to do. The truth is that the pressure levels were unforgettable,” recalls midfielder Guillaume Gillet of Conceição’s arrival at the Estadio de la Beaujoire.

Defender Anthony Walongwa has never forgotten a story that reveals how seriously the FC Porto coach takes his job. “At the time, I needed to lose a few pounds. He told me about it and said: ‘Your situation is complicated, you are a substitute, but I will not let you fall behind. He started running with me at the end of training, for 20-25 minutes. He wanted to have warriors on the lawn, to leave no one behind. Before the Christmas holidays, he asked me if I was planning on going on vacation and I told him that I just wanted to enjoy a few days with the family. He replied like this: ‘Oh yeah? You will stay here and work with my assistants. I thought I was joking, that was not the case…”, he revealed.

For his part, Rémy Riou, one of the Nantes goalkeepers at the time, says that there was a certain “madness” at Sérgio Conceição and remembers training… without light: “One day, we was training at the end of the afternoon and there was already no light. Practice started at 3:00 p.m. and by 5:30 p.m. there was nothing to see. It was getting darker and we were on the lawn. But Sérgio Conceição did not want to stop. We saw him less and less, he became more and more nervous. Finally, we finished training in complete darkness. It was a certain madness on his part,” he said.

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