According to reports during pre-season, Dayot Upamecano’s life under Ralf Rangnick’s stewardship hadn’t started in the greatest of manners as the Frenchman came under scrutiny for not taking his summer regime seriously, which supposedly lead to a subsequent injury. In an interview with Bild, Upamecano was asked about what was said in result of his actions and what he learned from it, his national team aspirations, and so forth.
You will watch the second leg from Leipzig. How tough will it be after the 3-1 victory in the first leg?
“It certainly will not be easy. But if we take the game as seriously as in the first leg and defend well then I see very good chances for us. Because we can score a goal every game.”
Your coach has criticized you for not doing anything on vacation. What happened there?
“We discuss and clarify many things internally. I had a good conversation with Ralf Rangnick. There is nothing more to say.”
Are you the type of guy who only has to pass the buffet and already has like a kilo more on his hips?
“Ralf said I did not do my homework. He is also completely right and I do not contradict him. I do not have to discuss that either. The injury came unfortunately through a very unfortunate situation in a duel with [Matheus] Cunha!”
What did you learn from this situation?
“Ralf has a big influence in the club. He was not satisfied with my attitude. He’s right, I was not happy with me either. I learned from that and I will turn it around. Just as he wished. That should help me in the future.”
What are the differences between Rangnick and Hasenhüttl?
“Every coach has his own philosophy and his own style. Ralph Hasenhüttl had shaped this team, we had a lot of success with him and worked very well. I can not say anything bad about him. Now Ralf Rangnick is our new coach. He is well known in Germany, he has earned recognition for many years. He will also help us.”
First, Ralf Rangnick has enforced new rules in the locker room. Mobile phone bans, new seating, it is only allowed to speak German and English.
“Ralf Rangnick is a very communicative person. He asked everyone for our opinion. What can we do better? So we have listed these points. We do not see that critically at all. Football is a team sport. The more we communicate with each other, the more successful we will be!”
Which language do you speak in the locker room?
“German! I do not understand English that well.”
Nordi Mukiele has joined. How does he make you better?
“I know Nordi from a TV broadcast on French television. He is an absolute athlete. He can play centre-back and right-back. If Ralf picks a player, then it must be a good one. He will help us a lot!”
But he could also take away your starting position…
“If it should come like that, then I’ll get it back to me.” (laughs)
In March you played your first game for the U21. How realistic is the dream of the A-national team?
“In France there are a lot of good players, also in my position. I do not think about that yet. I have to work more first.”
You have got a 100 million release-clause in your contract for this summer. Were there requests from other clubs?
“At least I did not hear anything about it. And I do not want to know about it. I have a valid contract here.”
Nevertheless, you have changed your agent, you are now at SportsTotal. Why?
“I talked to my family about it, we wanted to be more professional. So far my dad has been my main agent.”