Arriving in July and hoping to succeed where Benjamin Lecomte and Alexander Nübel struggled, is 25-year-old Swiss international Philipp Köhn, a man aware of the challenges he is facing.
“Ok, I think it’s not so easy to come here!” he told the Ligue 1 Show. “Especially last season was not so good but I’m not the guy who is looking in the past, I’m looking now here and I guess the past is the past and now we’re in the present!”
With two clean sheets from five games so far, Kohn’s confidence is building. A welcome bounce back for him after a shaky start in Clermont on the opening weekend…
“The first game was not so easy, I started quite the worst that can happen but after was very good, the team helped me a lot and after I tried to help them also so that’s the most important to come back from mistakes, it happens in football, especially as a goalkeeper,” explained Köhn. “I like it when the players come to me and say ‘head up, it happens!’. That’s my mind set, you know, positive. I’m not the guy who is like ‘you did a mistake, why you did that?’. I’m like ‘come on, come on let’s talk, next time you do it better’ and maybe I give him the idea how he can do it better. Same for me!”
One of Köhn’s biggest challenges is to get his messages across to a defence composed of Brazilians, a Chilean, a Ghanaian, an Ivorian and of course a couple of Frenchmen. For a man still getting to grips with the French language, inspiring confidence is something he has to do by other means.
“You have to give them the confidence that when they make a mistake I will help them,” he continued. “Just being there, giving them a good feeling when they look behind, there’s a guy who can help us a lot and that’s how it works yes!”
‘We have a good connection’
And things seem to be going well in defence for Köhn and his defenders.
“I know Zaki [Denis Zakaria] from the national team, and all the other guys will come in, [Wilfred] Singo as well. We have a good connection, when it’s Mari[pan] he has a bit more experience, especially in the club,” he said. “But football is not always about communication, it’s about understanding the game. I have my strengths in the game reading I think, and keeping the ball with the feet and of course I can save some balls also!”
When things don’t quite go smoothly, goalkeepers also need to react! They can sometimes be seen as a little bit mad…
“On the pitch, of course, you have to be sometimes mad!” he laughed. ” When you’ve conceded a goal you have to be mad, especially as a goalkeeper and sometimes I can also be a bit loud but in total when the guys in front are doing well then it’s fine but sometimes they need maybe a kick in the ass, so that’s also fine!”
Köhn and his teammates do battle in the Riviera derby at home to OGC Nice on Friday night.
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