Quote unquote: sporting director Olivier Renard

Impact sporting director discusses numerous topics before showdown with Miami

The 2020 MLS regular season is already coming to a close, and with just five regular-season games to go, the Impact is in the thick of the playoff race. The last few games of the season will be decisive for Thierry Henry’s men as they’ll take on direct opponents in the Eastern Conference.

Sporting director Olivier Renard has definitely been busy as of late, with many moving parts on the table as the season comes to an end. He took the time to meet with the media before the Impact takes on Inter Miami for the first time this Saturday at 7pm (TVA Sports, TSN, 98.5, TSN 690). Here’s what he had to say.

On the club’s long-term vision

When I first came here, I said that we wouldn’t change the entire club just like that. I look at things long-term. The club looks at things long term. It’s important to explain to our supporters that the decisions we make are to make the club better in the next months and years. We’re looking now to invest in players for the 2021 season.”

On Mustafa Kizza

Kizza arrived in Montreal yesterday. He was supposed to arrive a while ago. When we received confirmation that he can come, the government announced that borders would close. It was impossible for us to know that in advance. But he’s here now. Kizza is a young African coming here. It’s his first experience away from home, so he’ll need the time to get used to the city and the club for 2021.

On the challenges the club is facing

On a psychological level, it’s obviously not easy, but they are professionals, and they need to give it their all on the pitch. Everyone knows about our situation, but on my end, it’s no longer an excuse. We know it’s hard, but we need points. Football is played on the field.

On choosing the starting 11

I speak with the coach every day, but I am the sporting director. He makes the decision with his staff on who is going to be in the starting 11. We talk about players and we can talk about what I think and my philosophy, but the final decision regarding the line-up is Thierry’s decision. He needs to be able to manage the team how he wants.

On James Pantemis starting

I’m happy James Pantemis got the start. He’s a young Canadian international with a lot of potential. The fact that we reached an agreement for the transfer of Evan Bush wasn’t desperate on our end. We believe in our two young goalkeepers behind Clément Diop. Despite the loss, James had a good game. He was a little nervous in the first 10 minutes, which is normal, but he looked comfortable after, especially with the ball at his feet.