Penalty stopped in Metz, multiple decisive saves … The Lille goalkeeper never ceases to shine, to the point of being perhaps the best asset of his teams in the title race before facing Montpellier on Friday (9:00 p.m.) .
Mike Maignan, the X factor? Third goalkeeper of the France team behind the indestructible Hugo Lloris and the experienced Steve Mandanda, the 25-year-old Guyanese has grown more and more in the locker room of Lille. “Have I taken a step forward this year? Yes, it is very possible, I am maturing and with age we pay attention to details such as match preparations, invisible work, everything that makes it possible to perform at the weekend ”, humbly asserted the porter last month. An opinion shared by his trainer Christophe Galtier. “The fact that he is in the France group has played a role. When you go there, you look, you observe, you listen. All the experience he can store up, he puts it at the disposal of the team ”, estimated the technician Friday before the 33rd day this weekend.
Decisive in the last moments
This season, Mike Maignan has progressed because he manages to be decisive even if he is very little used, as at the last minute of the shock in Monaco (0-0) last month where he saved the point of the draw by making a superb parade in front of Stevan Jovetic. “He is much more demanding of himself and he can therefore also be demanding of his partners. This requirement is extremely important at the high level ”, underlined Galtier. Last Friday in Metz (2-0), the native of Cayenne kept his team in the game while it made a sluggish performance. He notably rejected a penalty early in the game, before making several decisive saves after returning from the locker room, just before Burak Yilmaz opened the scoring.
“Fortunately we have a goalkeeper to make saves … All the teams that play to qualify for the Champions League have a great goalkeeper, it’s essential.”
“Mike is an exceptional man. He often makes good saves. The defense does its utmost so that the opponent does not have opportunities but when we have a goalkeeper like Mike behind, that gives us confidence, ”judge full-back Zeki Celik. The Paris SG-trained goalkeeper, who seems best placed to succeed Lloris when the Blues captain retires, has posted impressive statistics this season. He conceded only 19 goals in 32 L1 matches (best defense in the championship) and managed to keep his clean sheet 18 times, more than one in two matches.
“Fortunately we have a goalkeeper to make saves … All the teams that play to qualify for the Champions League have a great goalkeeper, it’s essential. Some say that if we are champion it will be thanks to our goalkeeper, but we cannot summarize our season on the individuality and the performance of the goalkeeper, even if he is very good ”, said Friday Galtier, a little annoyed by the criticisms addressed to his team, considered too defensive. Friday against Montpellier, which has been undefeated for 13 matches in all competitions, Losc will try to find a more attractive offensive animation. With the assurance that Mike Maignan will still be present to counter the formidable Hérault attackers.