It has been recently reported by Bild that new RB Leipzig head coach Ralf Rangnick was displeased with French trio Dayot Upamecano, Jean-Kévin Augustin and Nordi Mukiele due to them separating themselves from the rest of the group – an issue Ralph Hasenhüttl reportedly had with the French core last season. In an interview with Leipziger Volkszeitung, Dayot Upamecano quashed these rumours, stating: “We are RB Leipzig, we are a family, and that is to see, also on the pitch.”
Mr. Upamecano, you are considered an outstanding talent. How do you see your development at RB Leipzig?
“I am young and still have a lot to learn, but I’m on the right track and in the right club, where I get a lot of use. I did not have it given to me, rather I had to work for it. If I keep this up, everything else will come by itself.”
Ralf Rangnick is the new coach, do you feel the changes?
“Ralf Rangnick brought me to Leipzig. You do not have to talk much about him. You only have to follow his career and his successes, that says a lot. He is a very big figure and we are glad to have him as a coach and that he develops us further.”
Last it was said that small groups had formed in the team. There was talk of the French connection. What do you think?
“There is often talk or speculation about things many people don’t know about. None of those who say that sit with us in the cabin or is always at training. And then such allegations are made where you can only shake your head. We are RB Leipzig, we are a family, and that is to see, also on the pitch. I reject these rumours.”
What differences did you feel in your first international season in Champions League and Europa League?
“This is, of course, another level than in the Bundesliga. We were eliminated, but we have accomplished is very respectable. Of course, we have made a few mistakes, but we know where we come from, what we can do. We are a very young team and have never played European. We have learned a lot and we will continue to develop this season, I am convinced.”
What are your seasonal goals?
“Sometimes I still lack the concentration and sometimes the correct technical/tactical behaviour. I have to continue to work hard. But every game, what I do will give me more courage, strength and self-confidence and facilitate my development in the club and in the Bundesliga. We want to play internationally and eventually in Champions League, but we are focused on our homework.”
As a player, do you prefer kindness and affection or clear statements?
“I need a coach who is tough. That’s how I can develop myself.”
You get titled wunderkind, does it interest you?
“It’s nice to hear, but I can not buy anything from that. I have not achieved anything yet. I know that I have something on it, but only through hard work can I continue.”
Who was your role model?
“Although I’m a defender, Zinedine Zidane has always been my idol and still is. Because he did so much for our country.”