Lucy Bronze joined the Women’s Football Weekend preview podcast and gave an insight into new Everton Women manager Jean-Luc Vasseur, who she excelled under at Lyon.
The Manchester City Women right-back won plenty of trophies under Vasseur, including the Champions League and Division 1 Feminine title in the 2019/20 season.
The Frenchman replaced Willie Kirk during the international break after an indifferent start to the Women’s Super League season from Everton. For a team with aspirations of finishing in the top three and reaching the Champions League, the Toffees certainly opted for a manager with plenty of European experience.
Ahead of Women’s Football Weekend – during which Everton host Man Utd live on Sky Sports – Bronze joined a special edition of the Essential Football Podcast and revealed all on her former manager…
‘I played some of my best football under Jean-Luc’
“For Jean-Luc, the style of play he had at Everton will be very different to what he had at Lyon, in terms of the squads he’s inherited and the league that he’s come in to.
“Jean-Luc is a guy I got on with really well, he’s a really nice, personable guy. I think he speaks really good English for a Frenchman as well, which is quite handy. I think he’ll do well, we obviously can’t judge him off his very first game, having barely had three training sessions.
“He loves technical drills. I think that’s something that would be great to have more of in England, getting girls to be more technical. It’s the kind of things you see in Spain, at the likes of Barcelona, who are so successful and are these amazing technicians.
“He loves free-flowing football and the time I played under him at Lyon, I played some of my best football so there’s a lot of great things I could say about him. I’m interested to see what he will do with this Everton team.
“I know it was always a dream of his to come to England and coach in an English team, because I think he has a little soft spot for the English, although he is very French.”
‘Jean-Luc will get the best from Everton players’
“I think Everton need to find the best out of all the players that they’ve got and each individual. They’ve signed a lot of world-class individuals and they’ve tried to fit them all in the team. I think Jean -Luc will be good at getting the best out of the best players there and fitting them into the team together.
“I think that’s what he did well at Lyon. We had about 14 players who would start in any team and he managed to fit these players into a starting XI, to make sure we got the best out of our best players to perform at the highest level.
“He’s got an eye for what the top player has to offer, having coached the best players in the world already at Lyon. So he knows what it takes, what a top player looks like and how they train.
“He also knows how to win things. That was his key thing, when he first came in [at Lyon], his first conversation was ‘do you know how many trophies there are to win this year?’, and he even counted the friendly tournament we played in.
“He put his hand up with a big five and whenever we won a trophy, he would say ‘OK, there’s four to go, there’s three to go’. He was so set on these trophies and our goals. Someone might have caught a photo or seen it on the tele, he was always doing the five with his hands.
“He’s driven to win trophies and that’s what Everton want this season. I feel like the mentality has changed with all the signings, but it’s not as easy as that and they need someone to bring it together, so I have trust in Jean-Luc , but it’s not always as simple as that.”
‘WSL more intense than the French league’
“The WSL is more fast-paced and intense. You’ve got the NWSL (National Women’s Soccer League in the USA), which is at the high-end of intensity in terms of the way it’s played, it’s end-to-end . I think it’s compared to basketball more than football sometimes just for that intensity it has, back and forth.
“I played for Lyon, who had won the French league numerous times and they’re a powerhouse in women’s football. The teams we played tended to sit back a lot and the games were very much our possessional play against the other team.
How to follow Women’s Football Weekend on Sky Sports
Follow all six WSL games on Women’s Football Weekend with our dedicated blogs across Sky Sports’ digital platforms and on Sky Sports News.
Live games on Sky Sports will include in-game clips and free match highlights shortly after full-time.
Watch Everton host Man Utd from 11.30am, live on Sky Sports Premier League; kick-off 12.30pm.
Man City then take on Chelsea from 2.45pm, also live on Sky Sports Premier League; kick-off 3pm.
Free match highlights from the remaining four WSL fixtures will be available from midnight on the day of the game.
“I don’t think you see that much in the WSL. The lower teams have got a high level of fitness and tactical awareness when they’re playing, and the general intensity of the games in England tend to be higher than the French league , maybe because the gap isn’t as big between the very top team and the very bottom team. But both leagues have got great teams and great players in them.”
‘City still have world-class players on the pitch’
Of course, Bronze’s full attention is now on Manchester City as they look to turn around their own stalled start to the season. They face a tough test when they welcome Chelsea in the WSL on Sunday, live on Sky Sports.
Gareth Taylor has had numerous injuries to contend with, with Bronze herself undergoing knee surgery in the summer and closing in on her return to action.
“The players are working hard every day, doing their best. I think you can see it in the games, the players are trying,” she explained.
“Ultimately, leagues can be won and lost because of draws or games which you should’ve put away, but you didn’t. It seems like we’ve had a few of them, as well as some performances where the team we’ re playing against has been better.
“Gareth is very process driven, which sometimes can be good and sometimes a bad thing. He’s quite direct and straight down the line, wanting to get on with what we’ve got. There’s not use in feeling sorry for ourselves with injuries or what have you.
“Even when people talk about injuries, I know we’ve had a lot, but the teams we put out are still good enough to beat the opposition. And actually, out of the XI we’re starting at the minute, how many players would be playing if they weren’t injured? [Houghton],
“We’re talking about nine injuries to a squad, which changes training, but in terms of the XI we’re putting out, we’ve still got Lauren Hemp, one of the best youngsters in the country. Kiera Walsh, one of the best holding midfielders in the country, Ellen White who scored for fun at the Olympics. Alex Greenwood too, who is the best centre-half with the ball.
“So we’ve still got world-class players on the pitch, but a lot of things have happened to us, whether it’s inflicted by other people or us just not killing off a game. There’s plenty of excuses in the book, but all we can do is crack on and focus on the next game.
“We know Chelsea are a top team. We played them recently in the FA Cup, but any team is beatable and any team has their strengths, but they have their weaknesses as well.”