Five years after losing his only previous final on penalties, Farid Benstiti coaches Paris Saint-Germain in Berlin on Thursday and he dissects his approach to the game.
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Benstiti had won four titles in a row and transformed Lyon in his nine-year spell there but it was only after his 2010 departure, following the shoot-out defeat by 1. FFC Turbine Potsdam in Getafe, that they became European champions. After a stint in Russia coaching the national team and FC Rossiyanka, Benstiti returned to France in 2012 with the newly professional Paris women's side, and on Thursday they take on Frankfurt in Berlin for the European crown.
Benstiti spoke to UEFA.com about his coaching philosophy, his view on what attractive football is, what he will say to his players before they face Frankfurt and how Paris will cope with his fellow "orphan" Caroline Seger's suspension.
Approach to coaching ...
An approach that is at once collective and individual. I try to develop the potential of every single player's athletic, mental, tactical and technical ability. But we also try to develop the team as a whole, we integrate the individual player within the squad, and from there we work on more collective details.
Coaching influences ...
I had some role models, especially one coach at the Lyon academy when I was a young player, José Broissart. I think when you spend four years with him, you remember it. He was very demanding, very confident, very determined. Work, work, work. That is what I remember most.
I've had some other coaches who have influenced me. I worked with Bernard Lacombe and Raymond Domenech when I was at Lyon. I've had quite a few coaches and it's true I have good memories of them and learned a lot from them.
Then there are some current coaches. I worked one year with Claude Puel, which was very important for me. In the staff there were people like Joël Bats. That allowed me to improve and develop even more in terms of details. So I really learned from them.
Attractive football ...
Attractive football is organised football – realistic football through the development of women's football – but I think there are still elements missing. So the objective is what we are able to do and what we are not able to do – attractive football is when you can be strong at the back and score goals up front, it's when you can play well and remain disciplined.
The ideal is what is played in the men's Champions League. When you watch the game, you feel that passion and it's always better than you expected. I expect that kind of level in women's football, and I expect some individual technical improvement in female players. We are getting there now, because the younger players are being developed from the youngest age, so we will have women's football with fewer technical mistakes.
Frankfurt's strengths ...
Frankfurt have a strong attack with very strong individuals like [Verónica] Boquete and [Dzsenifer] Marozsán. They are very creative in midfield as well. They are very strong in attack, with real athletes up front. And they have experienced players at the back. So they are quite a complete team. You have creativity with players like [Simone] Laudehr, who I forgot to mention, she is very strong; and they have that German mindset with discipline, determination, never giving up, the game isn't over at the 90th minute, all the attributes we know from the Germans and which makes them so strong at the moment.
Pre-match message to players ...
I will relay the message of a hard-working club that wants to take its players as far as possible, the message of an endlessly hard-working staff, so that the players have the potential to win the final. I will say to my players: you're playing a final and you must not hold back, whether it's at the back or at the front, you must play as freely as possible. You have to repeat your attacking plays, you have to hone them to perfection, you have to push yourself to the limit both individually and as a team. You also to have show efficiency in the last 20 metres. That is what I will ask from my players.
On Seger's suspension …
I said in an interview that we were both like orphans because we have both lost a final and have never won it. So we set ourselves the objective of winning it. It's very difficult to manage Caroline Seger because she is an example.
She is also so tough on the pitch, which is almost paradoxical compared to how she is in real life, it's incredible. I guess that's what makes great competitors. That is what we will miss most. She gave so much to reach this final, she's been exceptional in every round. It's a real frustration, but we will do everything to ensure she has a role to play in this final too.