Home French Joe Cole on his time at Lille: “I wanted a new experience.”

Joe Cole on his time at Lille: “I wanted a new experience.”

Joe Cole on his time at Lille: “I wanted a new experience.”

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In an interview published in today’s L’Équipe, former Chelsea and Lille midfielder Joe Cole discussed his season in Ligue 1 ahead of the two teams meeting in the Champions League knockout stages tonight.

“I was coming off the back of a season with Liverpool where I didn’t get to play much. It’s true that some Premier League clubs wanted me on loan, but to be honest they didn’t excite me. I wanted a new experience.”

“My agent received three offers from France: Marseille, Bordeaux and Lille. I watched some of those teams’ games and I was impressed by the quality of play of Lille. Then I got the train and I spoke for an hour with Rudi Garcia. On leaving his office, I knew I was going to play for Lille.”

“He was convincing during our discussion. And he revealed himself to be a fantastic manager during the season I spent with him, to the point where I consider him the most underestimated coach in Europe. I would love to see him manage in the Premier League. In terms of tactics, no other manager I’ve had in my career has taught me as much as him.”

“I loved the experience. I loved the city of Lille and the squad of players who were over there. I spoke very bad French, their English was not so good, but we managed to understand each other [laughs]. To be playing alongside such brilliant players as Eden Hazard and Dimitri Payet was a real pleasure. Looking back, I tell myself we could have been champions if we hadn’t lost Moussa Sow in January. Because after he left we had more trouble converting our chances.”

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