Ligue 1, October 8 2022
Born to English parents in Belgium and raised there, Will Still has spent most of his career in the country he grew up in – but he moved to Ligue 1 when he was appointed as Óscar García’s assistant at Stade de Reims in the summer of 2022. He faced a baptism of fire, however, when he was asked to stand in for García in the Reims dugout for the visit of the stars of Paris Saint-Germain in October of that year. Just five days after the game, at only 30 years old, Still became the youngest head coach in Europe’s top five leagues when he was made Reims caretaker manager following García’s departure.
Although Lionel Messi missed out for PSG due to injury, and both Neymar and Achraf Hakimi were left on the bench by PSG manager Christophe Galtier, Still faced an uphill task if he was to get a result against a team that had not lost or failed to score in a competitive match since March – a run of 22 matches. Against all odds, however, Reims kept a clean sheet against the French champions, to earn a hard-fought goalless draw.
In this exclusive masterclass, Still explains how and why he set Reims up to take the game to their opponents, including how they pressed PSG high up the pitch, with Arsenal’s on-loan forward Folarin Balogun playing a key role. He also talks about the “satisfaction” of frustrating a team as good as PSG, and drawing Sergio Ramos into getting sent off late in the first half.
Still goes on to explain why, even though Reims had just stopped Kylian Mbappé from scoring, there was still an element of frustration at the result. Despite a fully deserved draw against one of the best teams in the world, Still was left with a small, nagging feeling of regret.
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EXPECTED GOALS (XG)
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Author: Ali Tweedale